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Fan Effects: When do They Help and When do They Hurt Memory Retrieval and Why?
The result that there can be interference among competing associations to a concept has been known for many years, but its applicability in various contexts is not well understood. A number of theorists were puzzled by what was called the "Paradox of the Expert" - the implication that experts should be slower to answer questions about their specialty if knowing more slows one down - Certainly that is not true; however, the phenomenon of the slowing of verification to questions whose concepts are associated with more facts, even highly organized sets of facts, can be demonstrated.

The research described here attempted to resolve this paradox, explaining when interference would occur, when it would not and why experts appear not to suffer from such interference. This work also has connections to other work on strategy selection.

We have begun exploring how the fan effect can explain the word frequency mirror effect (Reder et al., 2000, 2002; Cary & Reder, 2003) and contextual effects in memory such as matching font of the word from study to test (Reder, Donavos, & Erickson, 2002). The font fan effect also produces a mirror effect (Diana, Peterson, & Reder, 2004). We have also begun extending this effect of contextual fan to face recognition (Diana & Reder, 2002).

Reder, L.M., Paynter, C., Diana, R.A., Ngiam, J., & Dickison, D. (2008). Experience is a double-edged sword: A computational model of the encoding/retrieval tradeoff with familiarity. In Ross, B. & Benjamin, A.S. (Eds.), The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Academic Press. [download PDF]

Buchler, N.E.G., & Reder, L.M. (2007). Modeling age-related memory deficits: A two-parameter solution. Psychology & Aging, 22(1), 104-121. [download PDF]

Park, H., Arndt, J.D., & Reder, L.M. (2006). A contextual interference account of distinctiveness effects in recognition. Memory & Cognition, 34(4), 743-751. [download PDF]

Diana, R., Peterson, M.J., & Reder, L.M. (2004). The role of spurious feature familiarity in recognition memory. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 11(1), 150-156. [download PDF]

Cary, M. & Reder, L.M. (2003). A dual-process account of the list-length and strength-based mirror effects in recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 49(2), 231-248. [download PDF]

Reder, L.M., Donavos, D.K., & Erickson, M.A. (2002). Perceptual Match Effects in Direct Tests of Memory: The Role of Contextual Fan. Memory & Cognition, 30(2), 312-323. [download PDF]

Diana, R. & Reder, L.M. (2002). The Effects of Irrelevant Perceptual Information on Memory for Faces Psychonomic Society, 43rd Annual Meeting, 294-320.

Reder, L.M., Angstadt, P., Cary, M., Erickson, M.A., & Ayers, M.A. (2002). A reexamination of stimulus-frequency effects in recognition: Two mirrors for low- and high-frequency pseudowords. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 28, 138-152. [download PDF]

Reder, L.M., Nhouyvansivong, A., Schunn, C.D., Ayers, M.S., Angstadt, P., & Hiraki, K. (2000). A Mechanistic Account of the Mirror Effect for Word Frequency: A Computational Model of Remember/Know Judgements in a Continuous Recognition Paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 26(2), 294-320. [download PDF]

Simmons, M.R., Reder, L.M., & Fiez, J.A. (2001). The role of perceptual fan in explicit recognition: Functional neuroimaging evidence. Abstracts of the Eighth Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, New York NY. [download PDF]

Anderson, J.R., & Reder, L.M. (1999). Process, not Representation: Reply to Radvansky (1999). Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 128(2), 207-210. [download PDF]

Anderson, J.R., & Reder, L.M. (1999). The Fan Effect: New Results and New Theories. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 128(2), 186-197. [download PDF]

Anderson, J.R., & Reder, L.M. (1987). Effects of number of facts studied on recognition versus sensibility judgments. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 13(3), 355-367. [lead article] [download PDF]

Reder, L.M., & Wible, C. (1984). Strategy use in question-answering: Memory strength and task constraints on fan effects. Memory and Cognition, 12, 411-419. [download PDF]

Reder, L.M. & Ross, B.H. (1983). Integrated knowledge in different tasks: The role of retrieval strategy on fan effects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 9, 55-72. [download PDF]

Reder, L.M. & Ross, B.H. (1981). The effects of integrated knowledge on fact retrieval and consistency judgments: When does it help, and when does it hurt. Proceedings of the Cognitive Science Society, Berkeley.

Reder, L.M. & Anderson, J.R. (1980). A partial resolution of the paradox of interference: The role of integrating knowledge. Cognitive Psychology, 12, 447-472. [lead article] [download PDF]

Reder, L.M. & Anderson, J.R. (1979). Use of thematic information to speed search of semantic nets. Proceedings of the 6th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence.