Very long-term memory for prose and verse

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Recalls from five passages learned by undergraduates in the course of growing up in America were obtained. Unlike passages learned in the laboratory, the recalls, while partial, were exact with no evidence of constructive memory. Although there was no control over learning, practice or retention interval, the data are among the most regular in cognitive psychology. Function word, first letter, and music prompts increased recalls while they decreased a mared primacy effect evident in the free recall data. Free recalls obtained from fifth and sixth graders resembled the adult data. Recalls tended to begin and end at breath pause locations. The results fit a simple model of associative chaining retrieval of passively stored surface structure units. © 1977 Academic Press, Inc. All rights reserved.






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Rubin, DC (1977). Very long-term memory for prose and verse. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 16(5). pp. 611–621. 10.1016/S0022-5371(77)80023-6 Retrieved from

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David C. Rubin

Juanita M. Kreps Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

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My main research interest has been in long-term memory, especially for complex (or "real-world") stimuli. This work includes the study of autobiographical memory and oral traditions, as well as prose. I have also studied memory as it is more commonly done in experimental psychology laboratories using lists. In addition to this purely behavioral research, which I plan to continue, I work on memory in clinical populations with the aid of a National Institute of Mental Health grant to study PTSD and on the underlying neural basis of memory the aid of a National Institute of Aging grant to study autobiographical memory using fMRI.

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