ERIC Number: EJ1090052
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Feb
Abstractor: As Provided
Adaptive Memory: Animacy Enhances Free Recall but Impairs Cued Recall
Popp, Earl Y.; Serra, Michael J.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v42 n2 p186-201 Feb 2016
Recent research suggests that human memory systems evolved to remember animate things better than inanimate things. In the present experiments, we examined whether these effects occur for both free recall and cued recall. In Experiment 1, we directly compared the effect of animacy on free recall and cued recall. Participants studied lists of objects and lists of animals for free-recall tests, and studied sets of animal-animal pairs and object-object pairs for cued-recall tests. In Experiment 2, we compared participants' cued recall for English-English, Swahili-English, and English-Swahili word pairs involving either animal or object English words. In Experiment 3, we compared participants' cued recall for animal-animal, object-object, animal-object, and object-animal pairs. Although we were able to replicate past effects of animacy aiding free recall, animacy typically impaired cued recall in the present experiments. More importantly, given the interactions found in the present experiments, we conclude that some factor associated with animacy (e.g., attention capture or mental arousal) is responsible for the present patterns of results. This factor seems to moderate the relationship between animacy and memory, producing a memory advantage for animate stimuli in scenarios where the moderator leads to enhanced target retrievability but a memory disadvantage for animate stimuli in scenarios where the moderator leads to impaired association memory.
Descriptors: Experimental Psychology, Memory, Recall (Psychology), Cues, Motion, Comparative Analysis, Animals, Word Lists, English, African Languages, Associative Learning, Interference (Learning), Stimuli, Undergraduate Students, Statistical Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A