I N recent years, cognitive psychologists have demonstrated numer-ous situations in which the availability or vividness of stored infor-mation is likely to distort human judgment. Such observations should be especially salient to political communication scholars when they reflect upon the disproportionately large and continuing impact that the earliest panel studies continue to exert on popular notions of mass media effects. Certainly the Erie County (Lazarsfeld, Berelson, & Gaudet, 1944) and Elmira (Berelson, Lazarsfeld, &McPhee, 1954) studies have not been immune to criticism, either on purely methodological grounds (Maccoby, 1955; Maccoby & Hyman, 1959; Rossi, 1959) or the limitations of their empirical boundaries (Chaffee & Hochheimer, 1985; McClure & Patterson, 1974; O'Keefe, 1975, 1982). Over the years, however, these studies have maintained an unexpected vitality, their vividness enhanced, no doubt, by comparison to the pallid voter behavior studies (Campbell, Converse, Miller, & Stokes, 1960; Campbell, Gurin, & Miller, 1954) that followed them.