The distinctiveness effect in forenames: The role of subjective experiences and recognition memory

K R Brandt, J M Gardiner, Neil Macrae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


We describe two experiments that tested the prediction that distinctive forenames would be better recognized than typical forenames and which investigated whether this distinctiveness effect, if obtained, occurred in subjective experiences of the recollective or familiarity components of recognition memory. To that end, the remember-know paradigm was used to measure people's experiences of recollection or familiarity. The results revealed that distinctive forenames were more memorable than typical forenames and that that this distinctiveness effect was present only in the subjective experience of remembering. Additionally, the present research showed that these distinctiveness effects were present after retention intervals of both I and 7 days. These results replicate and extend past research on distinctiveness effects and also provide support for Rajaram's (1996) distinctiveness-fluency account of the 2 states of subjective awareness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-280
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2006


  • recollective experience
  • word-frequency
  • free-recall
  • familiarity
  • novelty
  • retrieval
  • knowledge
  • awareness
  • pictures
  • models

Cite this