Von Kriesschrodinger Zone Theory See Color Vision Theorieslaws Of

von RESTORFF EFFECT. = Restorff phenomenon/effect. The German psychologist and physician Hedwig von Restorff (1906- ?) developed the generalization that if in a given series of stimuli to be learned (such as a list of words), one of them is made physically distinctive in some way (e.g., printed in large type or in a different color from the others), it will be easier to learn and recall. This phenomenon, called the von Restorff effect, and also known as the isolation effect and the Koh-ler-Restorff phenomenon - named after the German psychologist Wolfgang Kohler (18871967) and H. von Restorff, refers to the tendency to remember unusual items better than the more common items. The experiments by H. von Restorff (1933) and W. Kohler and H. von Restorff (1935) provided a trace theory basis for the Gestalt psychologists to explain the forgetting of material. A trace regarding learned materials may become distorted through its interactions with a mass of related traces similar to it. Thus, "associative interference" in forgetting experiments is related to the material to be remembered. Von Restorff showed that part of the difficulty of learning a list of syllables stems from their homogeneity: they are all undistinguishable and equally confusable with one another. However, if one item is perceptually distinguishable, then that unique item will be remembered better than the other items. Kohler and von Restorff conceived of the unique item as standing out like a figure against a ground/ background of all the homogeneous items. Being thus distinguished, the trace laid down for the unique item would be isolated from the traces of the rest of the items and, therefore, would not be distorted by interactions with those traces. Accounts of the von Restorff effect by stimulus-response associationists have proceeded along similar lines, using principles both of stimulus generalization and associative interference. See also ASSOCIATION, LAWS/PRINCIPLES OF; ASSOCIATIVE FACILITATION AND INTERFERENCE EFFECTS; GENERALIZATION, PRINCIPLES OF; GESTALT THEORY/LAWS; INTERFERENCE THEORIES OF FORGETTING; TOP-DOWN PROCESSING/ THEORIES; TRACE THEORY/DOCTRINE. REFERENCES

Restorff, H. von (1933). Analyse von vorgangen im spurenfled. I. Uber die wirkung von bereichsbildungen im spurenfeld. Psychologische Forschung, 18, 299-342. Kohler, W., & Restorff, H. von (1935). Analyse von vorgangen im spurenfeld. II. Zur theorie der reproduction.

Psychologische Forschung, 21, 56112.

Jensen, A. (1962). The von Restorff isolation effect with minimal response learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64, 123-125.

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