List length and the bizarreness effect: Support for a hybrid explanation

James B. Worthen, Philip H. Marshall, Kimberlee B. Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The dual-component distinctiveness and expectation-violation explanations of bizarreness effects were compared to a newly proposed hybrid model in a single experiment investigating the influence of list length and list composition on recall for common and unusual verbal information. Although list composition was determined to be an essential variable, the results suggest that list composition does not influence memory directly as a retroactive organizational or retrieval cue. The results do, however, support the notion that list composition influences memory indirectly by altering intralist expectations. Although the results support neither the dual-component nor the expectation-violation explanation as originally formulated, the results are in keeping with the hybrid model which incorporates both intralist and extralist sources of distinctiveness and an expectation-violating mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-156
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1998


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