The main goal of the present study was to determine whether the probability of correct and illusory recall of word lists varies with participants’ frequency of memorization and recitation practice. The ancillary goal was to determine whether the concurrent presentation of Arabic words and English translations would influence correct and illusory recall rates relative to monolingual presentation. The words in each list were selected to gravitate around a theme word, which was never presented. In this procedure, recall of the theme word was considered prima facie evidence of an illusory memory. Participants were Arabic–English bilingual speakers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). No effects of bilingual presentation on correct and illusory recall were observed in Experiment 1, which relied on lists developed in the United States for monolingual English speakers, and in Experiment 3, which relied on culturally appropriate lists. However, bilingual presentation reduced generic semantic intrusions in Experiment 1. Participants’ illusory recall rates were lower than those of published norms gathered from English-speaking monolingual participants. In Experiment 1, generic semantic intrusions declined as the breadth of participants’ recitation practice increased. No other significant correlations were found between memory indices and performance or sentiment measures of rote rehearsal. The implications of the finding that a didactic and religious practice taught to KSA students from an early age has little impact on the retention of verbal information are discussed.

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