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Factors affecting two types of memory specificity: Particularization of episodes and details

Journal article
Authors Rebecca M. Willén
Pär-Anders Granhag
Leif Strömwall
Published in PLoS ONE
Volume 11
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Subject categories Psychology


© 2016 Willén et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.Memory for repeated events is relevant to legal investigations about repeated occurrences. We investigated how two measures of specificity (number of events referred to and amount of detail reported about the events) were influenced by interviewees' age, number of experienced events, interviewer, perceived unpleasantness, and memory rehearsal. Transcribed narratives consisting of over 40.000 utterances from 95 dental patients, and the corresponding dental records, were studied. Amount of detail was measured by categorizing the utterances as generic, specific, or specific-extended. We found that the two measures were affected differently by all five factors. For instance, number of experienced events positively influenced number of referred events but had no effect on amount of detail provided about the events. We make suggestions for future research and encourage reanalysis of the present data set and reuse of the material.

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