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Abstract

We encounter new material on a daily basis. Not all of these encounters will be remembered, however. Criterial recollection studies show that context influences memory when it comes to recalling words (Gallo et al., 2004), such as word font color, size and images that are paired with a word. The degree to which a stimulus is memorable, or “memorability” (Bainbridge, 2019) of an image, describes the probability that something is recalled later. The current study examined how the context of inherently memorable images associated with a term can influence our ability to recall the context surrounding those terms later using a criterial recollection task. Participants were shown terms paired with either a matching memorable scene image, a matching forgettable scene image, or no image, and asked to recall the context of each term (the presence of an image). Results showed that participants were significantly better at recalling the context of terms that were associated with a memorable image compared to a forgettable one. Memorable images have distinct effects on memory even when the image is not actively shown during recall.

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