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von Restorff effect


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A tendency, when attempting to recall a list of words or other items that have been learned, to show superior recall for any item that has a high degree of salience (1), a typical example being a word printed in differently coloured ink. The effect is much weaker for recognition memory. Also called the Restorff effect or the isolation effect. See also next-in-line effect. Compare Ranschburg inhibition. [Named after the German psychologist Hedwig von Restorff (1906–62) who first reported it in her doctoral dissertation, published in the journal Psychologische Forschung in 1933, and in a second article, co-authored with her dissertation supervisor, the German Gestalt psychologist Wolfgang Köhler (1887–1967), in the same journal in 1937]


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