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Effects of Levels of Processing, Context, and Gender Differences in Recall Memory

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Over the years, several models have been proposed to explain the nature of memory processes (e.g., Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968; Craik & Lockhart, 1972; Estes & Maddox, 1995; Raajimakers & Shiffrin, 1981). One of those models, level of processing, proposed that the duration that information can be held in the memory depends on the depth at which it is processed, not the stage of memory in which it is held. A study by Smith, Theodore, and Franklin (1983) examined this hypothesis by investigating how depth of processing affect the amount of processing obtained in the processing of a target item in a lexical detection task (LDT) by college students. The study asked 100 college students to make lexical decisions about target after making decision about prime. The result of the unexpected post-session recall test indicated that superior recall for words was dependent on the way in which the prime was processed, with semantic decision (deep processing) resulting in greater facilitation over words whose processing focused on visual or phonemic features (shallow processing).
Other studies (e.g., Gordon & Debus, 2002; Irwin & Lupker, 1983; Kearian, 1986) have also found that the deeper the coding of information, the more durable the memory. For example, Gordon and Debus have demonstrated that contextual modification in teaching, task requirements, and assessment processes can increase college students’ use of deep processing approaches to learning. They argued that deep processing approach help students’ problem solving abilities, while the use of shallow processing approaches results in study behaviours that led to low quality learning outcomes. This was in support of earlier findings by Craik & Lockhart (1972) which posits that deep proc...


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... Bulletin, 104, 53-69.
Irwin, D., & Lupker, S. (1983). Semantic priming of pictures and words: A level of processing approach. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behaviour, 245-260.
Kearians, J. (1986). Visual spatial memory in aboriginal and white Australian children. Australian Journal of Psychology, 38, 203-214.
Raajimakers, J., & Shiffrin, R. (1981). Search of associative memory. Psychological Review, 88, 93-134.
Smith, S., Glenberg, A., & Bjork, R. (1978). Environmental context and human memory. Memory & Cognition, 6, 342-353.
Smith, M., Theodore, L., & Franklin, P. (1983). The relationship between contextual facilitation and depth of processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 9 (4), 697-712.
Schulman, A. I. (1971). Recognition memory for targets from a scanned word list. British Journal of Psychology, 62, 335-346.



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