Successful cuing of gender source memory does not improve location source memory

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In three experiments we explored cross-dimensional cuing effects in a multidimensional source encoding and retrieval paradigm. We employed a bias-controlled experimental method of source cuing at retrieval (Starns & Hicks, 2013) in an attempt to improve retrieval of location information indirectly by cuing gender information. Encoded words were situated on the left or right side of a computer monitor and associated with either a male or a female face. When multiple faces were used across the set of encoded words, reinstating the correct face at retrieval alongside an incorrect, opposite-gender face cue improved male/female source decisions for test words. However, this powerful test cue did not improve memory for the encoded location of the words, suggesting that within-dimension cuing does not produce cross-dimensional cuing. This null outcome was found when gender decisions were required (Experiments 1A and 2) or not required (Experiment 1B) prior to location decisions. Nor was cross-dimension cuing found when subjects were told to expect a source test of both gender and location information at retrieval (Experiment 2). Our findings reinforce prior work demonstrating that multiple context dimensions can be bound to item information without any direct binding between the contexts.

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Memory & cognition

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