Test-expectancy and word-frequency effects in recall and recognition

David A. Balota, James H. Neely
1980 Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Learning & Memory  
To determine if people who expect a recall (RCL) test encode a list of to-beremembered (TBR) words differently than those who expect a recognition (RON) test, people were first induced to expect a RCL or a RON test and then were asked to remember a critical list consisting of both high-frequency (HF) and low-frequency (LF) words. Following presentation of the critical list, different groups received either an expected RCL test, an unexpected RCL test, an expected RON test, or an unexpected RON
more » ... est. There were two main results: (a) People who expected RCL did better in both RCL and RON than did people who expected RON, but to a much greater degree for HF than LF words, (b) The standard word-frequency effect was obtained; namely, HF words were better recalled but more poorly recognized than LF words. These data were interpreted within the framework of Anderson and Bower's generaterecognize theory as indicating that, compared to people expecting a RON test, people expecting a RCL test more variably encode the semantic interpretations of the TBR word. The implications that these data have for Glanzer and Bowies' theory of the word-frequency effect and for classroom examinations were also discussed. Requests for reprints should be addressed to James
doi:10.1037//0278-7393.6.5.576 fatcat:pov2a4vg5jehpnmyzkkf2x2qzu