Reminiscence: A test of Eysenck's three-factor theory




St. James, James David

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



A test was made of a consolidation theory of reminiscence for the pursuit rotor and inverted alphabet printing (IAP). This theory suggests that reminiscence for these tasks is a result of consolidation of learning. A similar task interpolated early in rest should decrease reminiscence for the pursuit rotor. - A similar effect is expected for IAP, but less pronounced. Subjects were 150 female undergraduates. All subjects did each task for 5 minutes, took a 20 minute rest, then did the task again for 2 minutes. Order of the tasks was counterbalanced. Subjects were randomly assigned to orders and to experimental groups, which differed in the nature of the rest period. The five levels of treatment were: rest only, immediate reverse-cue (mirror image) pursuit rotor practice, delayed reversecue practice, immediate mirror tracing practice, or delayed mirror tracing.The immediate interpolated tasks began at the start of the rest period, and the delayed tasks after 6 minutes of the rest period. Three replications of the experiment, with 50 subjects each, were performed. Analysis of the data for the pursuit rotor showed that the experimental treatments did not alter the amount of reminiscence. Reminiscence was lower for subjects who had done the lAP first. A significant difference between replications indicates possible instrument error, which appears to be equal across the treatment groups. Analysis of the IAP data showed no significant differences in reminiscence for replications, treatments, of order of tasks. The data f ail to support the consolidation theory. The possibility of sex differences in the effect of interpolated tasks is discussed. It is concluded that no adequate theory of reminiscence has yet been advanced.



Maudsley personality inventory, Psychology of learning, Memory