We investigated the influence of distinctive encoding on the Jacoby and Whitehouse (1989) illusion. Subjects studied visually presented words that were associated with either an auditory presentation of the same word (non-distinctive encoding) or a picture of the object (distinctive encoding). In both conditions, words were visually presented on the recognition test, and half were preceded by brief repetition primes. Priming test items increased hits and false alarms in the auditory condition, demonstrating the Jacoby-Whitehouse illusion. This illusion was reduced in the picture condition. In order to test whether this distinctiveness effect was caused by a recollection-based response strategy (i.e., the distinctiveness heuristic), we minimized recollection-based responding by having subjects make speeded recognition decisions. Contrary to the distinctiveness heuristic hypothesis, speeded responding did not eliminate the distinctiveness effect on the Jacoby-Whitehouse illusion. Picture encoding may reduce this illusion via a shift in preretrieval orientation, as opposed to a postretrieval editing process.