Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice
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In two temporally inverted memory experiments, Daryl Bem found that participants had better recall for words that were practiced after the recall task than for control words that were not practiced after the recall task. We attempted to replicate the second of Bem’s two experiments with the addition of a personality measure. After completing the Six Factor Personality Questionnaire, participants (n = 102) interacted with a computer on which they were shown 48 nouns, one at a time, then asked to type as many of the words as they could recall, and then asked to practice a random selection of 24 of the 48 words. The mean number of practice words that were on the typed recall list was 9.32, whereas the mean number of control words was 9.53 with t(101) = −0.55, p = .58 (two-tailed), Cohen’s d = −0.060. The correlation of the difference between practice and control words with Bem’s stimulus seeking scale is r(100) = –.081, p = .42 (two-tailed). Multiple linear regression of Bem’s scale on personality facets revealed that Bem’s scale does not appear to measure stimulus seeking. The correlation between the difference score and a scale constructed to measure stimulus seeking from the facets of the personality questionnaire was r(100) = –.063, p = .53 (two-tailed). We found no evidence for retroactive facilitation of recall and no correlations of the difference score with any personality measures. Possible reasons for a failure to find retrocausal recall are discussed.