The context-dependent memory effect, in which memory for an item is better when the retrieval context matches the original learning context, has proved to be difficult to reproduce in a laboratory setting. In an effort to identify a set of features that generate a robust context-dependent memory effect, we developed a paradigm in virtual reality using two semantically distinct virtual contexts: underwater and Mars environments, each with a separate body of knowledge (schema) associated with it. We show that items are better recalled when retrieved in the same context as the study context; we also show that the size of the effect is larger for items deemed context-relevant at encoding, suggesting that context-dependent memory effects may depend on items being integrated into an active schema.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Context-dependent memory effect