The Memory Theories Of Levels Of Processing

1439 words - 6 pages

This research tests the memory theories of levels of processing proposed by Craik and Lockhart (1972) and encoding specificity presented by Wiseman and Tulving (1976). Craik and Lockhart (1972) assert that stimuli that are semantically related are encoded more deeply than stimuli that are related physically. Wiseman and Tulving (1976) state that encoded information must be retrieved in the same way in which it was encoded. These two theories come together in the current experiment where the subjects rate the relatedness of word pairs on either rhyming or categorization. Then the subjects complete a free recall or cued recall from the word list. It is hypothesized that the category encoded words will be easier to retrieve in both the cued and free recalls and that the congruently encoded and retrieved words (e.g., category encode and category recall) will be easier to retrieve. The results affirm the hypotheses resulting in a significant interaction between encoding and retrieval, and a significant difference between the means for the category and rhyming words.
Keywords: levels of processing, encoding specificity, rhyming, categoryLevels of Processing and Encoding Specificity
Craik and Lockhart’s (1972) levels of processing model introduces a shallow and deep processing system as a route to which information enters into long term memory. “Specifically, we suggest that trace persistence is a function of depth of analysis, with deeper levels of analysis associated with more elaborate, longer lasting, and stronger traces” (Craik and Lockhart, 1972, p.675). Shallow processing would be the physical characteristics of a stimulus, deep processing would be semantic characteristics of a stimulus. Craik and Lockhart (1972) argue that semantically related stimuli will be, “Processed to a deep level more rapidly than less meaningful stimuli and will be well-retained” (p.676).
Wiseman and Tulving's (1976) research focuses on cues and the method of information retrieval. They assert that retrieval is specific to the way in which it is encoded. If information is encoded semantically, then it will be retrieved in the same way. Wiseman and Tulving would expect congruent encoding and retrieval to result in easy recall.
In this experiment the subjects rate the pairs of words based on rhyming or category relatedness, thus controlling the way the words are encoded. Later, they recall the words as a free recall or cued recall. The cued recall has an equal number of rhyme and category cues, while subjects write down whatever they can remember in free recall condition.
It is expected that the subjects will perform better in recalling category encoded words, versus rhyming encoded words based on the levels of processing model provided by Craik and Lockhart. The subjects are expected to more easily recall congruently encoded and retrieved words according to Wiseman and Tulving’s research, (i.e., Categorically encoded words will be recalled easier with a category...

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