Von Restorff effect

If there are multiple similar stimuli, we remember the one that differs from the rest. For example, if a person examines a shopping list with one item highlighted in bright green, he or she will be more likely to remember the highlighted item than any of the others.


  • The total-time hypothesis suggests that isolated items are rehearsed for a longer time in working memory compared to non-isolated items.
  • Subjects could consider the isolated items to be in their own special category in a free-recall task, making them easier to recollect.