Hypermnesia, reminiscence, and repeated testing

Hajime Otani, Nicholas R. Von Glahn, Phillip N. Goenert, Mai Migita, Robert L. Widner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Hypermnesia is a phenomenon in which memory performance improves across repeated tests even though no new exposure to the study material occurs between tests. Hypermnesia is a combined effect of reminiscence (item gains) and intertest forgetting (item losses). When reminiscence exceeds intertest forgetting, memory performance increases across repeated tests to produce hypermnesia. In this chapter, we review basic findings and theories and explore possible applications of hypermnesia. Based upon the review, we propose the following. In education, repeated testing can be used to maximize students' recall and promote long-term retention. In forensic settings, repeated testing can be used to uncover new information but repeated testing can also increase incorrect recall and distort source information. For older adults, we propose that a decline in reminiscence may indicate abnormal aging process. In clinical psychology, hypnotic hypermnesia is not a special case of hypermnesia but hypnosis can increase false confidence by highly hypnotizable individuals. Finally, we propose that hypermnesia is a normal memory phenomenon that should be included in a standardized memory scale to measure the level of memory functioning. We conclude the chapter by suggesting that the practitioners of repeated testing must be aware of the benefits and costs of repeating a test.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApplied Memory
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781606921432
StatePublished - 2009


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