Figure 610

Recognition-memory performance as a function of the depth and distinctiveness of processing. Data from Eysenck and Eysenck (1980).

deep encoding (is the word concrete or abstract?), or that were to be processed perceptually or shallowly (upper- or lower-case?). They compared brain activity associated with these two tasks, and concluded: "The fMRI found greater activation of left inferior prefrontal cortex for semantic than for perceptual encoding" (Gabrieli et al., 1996, p. 282).

Morris, Bransford, and Franks (1977) argued that stored information is remembered only if it is of relevance to the memory test. Their participants had to answer semantic or shallow (rhyme) questions for lists of words. Memory was tested by a standard recognition test, in which a mixture of list and non-list words was presented, or it was tested by a rhyming recognition test. On this latter test, participants were told to select words that rhymed with list words; note that the list words themselves were not presented.

If one considers only the results obtained with the standard recognition test, then the predicted superiority of deep over shallow processing was obtained (see Figure 6.11). However, the opposite result was obtained with the rhyme test, and this represents an experimental disproof of the notion that deep processing always enhances long-term memory.

Morris et al. (1977) argued that their findings supported a transfer-appropriate processing theory. According to this theory, different kinds of processing lead learners to acquire different kinds of information about a stimulus. Whether the stored information leads to subsequent retention depends on the relevance of that information to the memory test. For example, storing semantic information is essentially irrelevant when the memory test requires the identification of words rhyming with list words. What is required for this kind of test is shallow rhyme information.

The levels-of-processing approach was designed to account for performance on standard memory tests (e.g., recall; recognition) based on conscious and deliberate retrieval of past events. However, there is also implicit memory (memory not involving conscious recollection). Tests of implicit memory include wordfragment completion and word-stem completion, in which participants write down the first word they think of that completes a word fragment (e.g., _ e n _ i _ is a fragment for "tennis") or a word stem (e.g., ten_), respectively. There is typically a small (and often non-significant) levels-of-processing effect on such tests (see Challis & Brodbeck, 1992).

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