Experience is a Double‐Edged Sword: A Computational Model of The Encoding/Retrieval Trade‐Off With Familiarity

Date of Original Version



Book Chapter

Abstract or Description

This chapter proposes that experience can facilitate cognition, but that it also carries costs. It provides both empirical evidence to support these claims and a computational mechanism to show how these processes interact with other aspects of the mind. It reviews the evidence that experience can be a liability when retrieving information and also explains the conditions when experience does not hurt performance at retrieval. The chapter focuses on how experience generally facilitates encoding. It also describes model that can explain retrieval deficits with experience. The SAC model, which stands for source of activation confusion, has had success predicting many results, including some that were not intuitive. Moreover, this chapter introduces a revised, but more psychologically accurate model that can explain how experience positively affects encoding. Finally, the goal of this chapter is to move toward closer and closer approximations to the truth by building models that can account for more and more phenomena.




Published In

Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 48, 271-312.