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found support for the outshining hypothesis.

The evidence in support of the outshining hypothesis was mixed, however, ..

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In a meta-analysis of the literature on environmental context, Vela (1989) found support for the outshining hypothesis. Analyzing more than 50 studies and calculating the size of the context effect (defined as the performance difference between no-context-change and context-change groups), Vela found overall a moderate, statistically significant advantage for the same context in learning and test. This result was modulated by both the nature of the retrieval test and the conditions of study, as predicted by the outshining hypotheses.

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According to the "outshining hypothesis" (Smith, 1988; Smith and Vela, 1986), environmental influences will be reduced (outshone) when there are strong retrieval cues present at the time of the memory test. This can occur, for example, because the test itself provides strong cues, as in a recognition situation. It can also occur because the original learning situation promoted self-cuing, such as instruction at the time of learning that encouraged subjects to think about items conceptually and relate them to one another (e.g., forming words into a story). Bjork and Richardson-Klavehn (1989) suggested that this hypothesis should be augmented by a "reinstatement hypothesis," that physically reinstating the context of learning will be useful only when subjects cannot mentally do so for themselves. For example, if a person studied in a pink room but is tested in a green one, imagining the green walls to be pink may compensate for the change in environment (see, e.g., Smith, 1979). According to these hypotheses, variations in the nature of the retrieval and learning situations may underlie the inconsistent effects of environmental context that have been observed.

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The results are consistent with the principle of encoding specificity and the outshining hypothesis, as instantiated in the item, context, ensemble theory.

The effect of environmental context on recall and category clustering scores following relational and individual item processing: A test of the outshining hypothesis.Memory,4, 79–90.

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The Effect of Environmental Context on Recall and Category Clustering Scores Following Relational and Individual Item Processing: A Test of the Outshining Hypothesis

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