ABSTRACT

One of the most obvious characteristics of human memory is that repetition helps—if a stimulus is presented twice it typically leads to better memory than a stimulus presented once (a phenomenon so intuitive that is usually goes unnamed—but we will call it the repetition effect). Less obvious, but very well documented in modern research, is the testing effect—the finding that retrieving information from memory enhances later memory compared to restudying the same information. As it turns out, both of these effects can be reversed and under similar circumstances. In particular, the item-specific–relational framework suggests conditions under which these surprising reversals can occur. This chapter reviews the framework, its predictions, and the empirical results demonstrating that, under certain conditions, a stimulus presented once is better recalled than a stimulus presented twice (the negative repetition effect), and a stimulus subjected to restudy is better recalled than a stimulus subjected to retrieval practice (the negative testing effect).