Organization and long-term memory search

Donald Homa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


A recognition RT paradigm was used to assess a number of plausible search strategies in LTM for categorized lists. List length was determined by factorially combining two, three, or five categories with two, three, or five words per category, and test items could be one of four types: (1) positive, (2) a repeated positive, (3) a related negative, or (4) an unrelated negative. It was found that RT increased linearly with category size for both positive and related negatives (about 30-40 msec/item); whereas the increase was much smaller for the unrelated negatives, especially for three and five categories (about 9 msec/item). With an increase in the number of categories, RT increased at the rate of about 40 msec/category for all three test items. A theory of .high-speed scanning for categorized material was proposed in which a serial and exhaustive search of the categories, is first undertaken. If a positive category match is found, a serial and exhaustive search within the contents of the positive category is initiated; if no category match is found, the search is simply terminated. Some evidence was presented that categories recently probed may provide for a short-circuiting of the category search.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-379
Number of pages11
JournalMemory & Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1973

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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