Integration of orthographic and semantic information in memory retrieval

Dominic W. Massaro, Mary S. Weldon, Stephen N. Kitzis
1991 Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory and Cognition  
Our central goal was to determine how multiple sources of information are evaluated and integrated during memory retrieval. An expanded factorial design was used to vary two sources of information independently of one another and to present each source alone. Subjects solved crossword-like puzzles with varying numbers of orthographic and semantic cues. The results of the experiment indicated that (a) performance is better given two sources of information relative to just one; (b) evaluation of
more » ... ach source of information provides continuous rather than just categorical (all-or-none) information; and (c) the two sources are integrated multiplicatively rather than simply used independently of one another as claimed by nonintegration models. A fuzzy logical model of perception (FLMP)--taken from the pattern recognition domain--gave a good description of the memory results. A single channel model, an averaging model, and an adding model produced poor descriptions of the results. The present research is carried out according to the procedures of falsification and strong inference. We follow these guidelines in our experimental tests of alternative hypotheses about memory retrieval. Most studies in experimental psychology represent primarily one of two metatheoretical approaches. The psychophysical approach aims to discover laws relating the physical world to observable behavior. Its value is apparent in the immense data base that has been acquired on the psychophysics of our sensory experience. The information-processing approach aims to discover how the stimulus world is processed to generate some observable behavior. The value of this approach is apparent in the progress that has been made in understanding the component processes involved in pattern recognition, memory, and decision making. The present research combines the goals of both psychophysical and information-processing methods. We ask how multiple sources of information are evaluated and integrated in memory retrieval. Consider the retrieval of the word performance, given the semantic cue act and the letters per----ance. The retrieval of the critical word is achieved by integrating the bottom-up and the top-down sources of information--that is, the letters and semantic cue. This task is analogous to solving a crossword puzzle, which involves
doi:10.1037//0278-7393.17.2.277 pmid:1827831 fatcat:fd3d64ntwrepljvjynk3jzsi2q