The Open UniversitySkip to content

Variations in the negative recency effect

Richardson, John T. E. (1979). Variations in the negative recency effect. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 14(6) pp. 401–403.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


The negative recency effect has been reliably demonstrated in a final, cumulative recall test but not in an initial recall test delayed by an irrelevant interpolated activity. One explanation of this is that a distractor task induces elaborative encoding on the terminal list items; however, a negative recency effect has been found in an initial, delayed recall test following auditory presentation. Another explanation of variations in negative recency is that visual presentation induces elaborative encoding on the terminal list items. An experiment was carried out to test this hypothesis, using immediate initial testing and visual presentation. A negative recency effect was found with material of high imageability but not with material of low imageability. It was concluded that the negative recency effect is caused by the fact that subjects do not image the last few items presented in a free recall task, but that, under conditions of visual presentation, an irrelevant distractor task will induce the employment of mental imagery as an elaborative code on all of the items in a list.

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 0090-5054
Academic Unit/School: Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 49774
Depositing User: John T. E. Richardson
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2017 13:09
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2019 09:10
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU