Figure 611

Mean proportion of words recognised as a function of orienting task (semantic or rhyme) and of the type of recognition task (standard or rhyming). Data are from Morris et al. (1977), and are from positive trials only.

The levels-of-processing approach describes rather than explains. Craik and Lockhart (1972) did not explain exactly why deep processing is so effective.

Levels-of-processing theory: Update

Lockhart and Craik (1990) accepted that much of their original levels-of-processing theoretical framework was oversimplified. For example, the relationship between rehearsal and memory performance is more complex than they had assumed, and they agreed that they had not considered retrieval processes in enough detail.

There were three main ways in which the views of Lockhart and Craik (1990) differed from those of Craik and Lockhart (1972). First, Lockhart and Craik (1990) accepted the notion of transfer-appropriate processing proposed by Morris et al. (1977), but argued that it is possible to reconcile transfer-appropriate processing with the levels-of-processing approach. Transfer-appropriate theory predicts that memory performance depends on interactions between the type of processing at encoding and the type of processing at retrieval (see Figure 6.11). Levels-of-processing theory predicts a main effect of processing depth when transfer appropriateness is held constant. In the study by Morris et al. (1977), there was high transfer appropriateness when semantic processing at learning was followed by a standard recognition test, and when rhyme processing was followed by a rhyming test. In addition, memory performance was much higher in the former condition, as is predicted by levels-of-processing theory (see Figure 6.11).

Second, Lockhart and Craik (1990, pp. 97-98) accepted that their previous theoretical assumption that shallow processing always led to rapid forgetting was not correct: "Since 1972., a number of results have been reported in which sensory information persists for hours, minutes, and even months. sensory or surface aspects of stimuli are not always lost rapidly as we claimed in 1972."

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