Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychological Science



First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Richard Addante


Recognition memory is thought to rely upon both recollection and familiarity. When people recall an episode from the past it is generally considered to reflect the memory process of recollection. Therefore, if people can successfully recall an item, they should be able to recognize it. However, in cued recall paradigms of memory research, participants sometimes correctly recall a studied target word in the presence of a strong semantic cue but then fail to recognize that word as actually having been studied. This paradox and underlying cognitive processes have been minimally studied by scientists, leaving this phenomenon poorly understood. Extant research has investigated some of the conditions necessary to produce these conditions but not the underlying neural correlates that drive them. The present study builds upon earlier studies using Electroencephalogram (EEG) to investigate the neural processes that underlie recognition failures of successfully recalled words. In the present experiment, participants studied words one at a time, and then later were asked to verbally recall these previously studied words as cued by their semantic associates. Following the participant’s verbal response, their recognition memory was tested for the recalled word. The current study aimed to use physiological measures (EEG) to investigate the explicit and implicit cognitive processes that may be involved in the recognition failure of recalled words. The data indicate that successfully recalled words that are recognized are driven by recollection at recall and a combination of recollection and familiarity at recognition, whereas successfully recalled words that are not recognized are instead driven by semantic priming at recall and at recognition, are driven by negative-going ERP effects reflecting implicit processes such as repetition fluency.