In the present study the effects of visual, auditory, and audio–visual presentation formats on memory for thematically constructed lists were assessed in individuals with intellectual disability and mental age–matched children. The auditory recognition test included target items, unrelated foils, and two types of semantic lures: critical related foils and related foils. The audio–visual format led to better recognition of old items and lower false-alarm rates for all foil types. Those with intellectual disability had higher false-alarm rates for all foil types and experienced particular difficulty discriminating presented items from those most strongly activated internally during acquisition (i.e., critical foils). Results are consistent with the activation-monitoring framework and fuzzy-trace theory and inform best practices for designing visual supports to maximize performance in educational and work environments.

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