Familysystems Modeltheory


FAN EFFECT. In the context of memory research, the fan effect refers to a tendency for the amount of time required to retrieve a specific fact about a concept to increase with the number of facts that are known about that particular concept (i.e., the greater the number of links to a concept, the more time is required to verify any one link). The fan effect has been observed in diverse study areas such as face recognition, retrieval of various types of knowledge, age-related memory deficits, and increase of information retrieval time with advanced age. It may be suggested that the fan effect is either due to "multiple mental models" or to "suppression of concepts." However, when invoking the Adaptive Control of Thought-Rational (ACT-R) theory or model (Anderson & Lebiere, 1998) - which embodies associative interference - experimental results are consistent with the "multiple mental models" interpretation over the "concept suppression" approach. Thus, the ACT-R theory or model provides a good quantitative fit to results of the fan effect experiments. See also ADAPTIVE CONTROL OF THOUGHT THEORY/MODEL; INFORMATION/INFORMATION PROCESSING THEORY; SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM MEMORY, THEORIES OF. REFERENCES

Anderson, J. R., & Lebiere, C. (1998). The atomic components of thought. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Anderson, J. R., & Reder, L. M. (1999). The fan effect: New results and new theories. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 128, 186-197. Radvansky, G. A. (1999). The fan effect: A tale of two theories. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 128, 198-206.


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