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ERIC Number: EJ952447
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 35
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
On the Plasticity of the Survival Processing Effect
Kroneisen, Meike; Erdfelder, Edgar
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v37 n6 p1553-1562 Nov 2011
Nairne, Thompson, and Pandeirada (2007) discovered a strong and rather general memory advantage for word material processed in a survival-related context. One possible explanation of this effect conceives survival processing as a special form of encoding: Nature specifically "tuned" our memory systems to process and remember fitness-relevant information. We tested this explanation by studying whether the survival processing effect is robust against encoding manipulations that do not affect the fitness relevance of information. Three experiments replicated a strong survival processing effect under standard conditions but showed that the mnemonic benefit of survival processing diminishes or even vanishes when participants focus on a single problem (Experiments 1 and 2) or technique (Experiment 3) of survival. We argue that it is not survival processing per se that facilitates recall but the richness and distinctiveness with which information is encoded. (Contains 3 footnotes, 3 tables, and 5 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany