Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Anticipating Partners' Responses: Examining Item and Source Memory Following Interactive Exchanges

Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Anticipating Partners' Responses: Examining Item and Source Memory Following Interactive Exchanges

Article excerpt

Within the context of an interactive anagram-solving task, the present studies tested predictions about the role of cognitive anticipation in both source and item memory. After working in pairs to solve anagram problems, participants were surprised by a source-monitoring test focused on the source of solutions (self vs. partner, Experiment 1) or a standard recognition test focused on the solutions themselves (Experiment 2). With the intention of affecting the opportunity to anticipate partners' solutions, two variables were manipulated: anagram difficulty (easy vs. hard) and the delay between the presentation of an anagram problem and the prompt that designated one member of each pair as the anagram solver. Consistent with predictions, as the opportunity to anticipate partners' solutions increased, there was a decrease in source accuracy suggesting increased confusion about whether the solution had been self- or partner-generated. Generation-effect failures were observed in item memory. However, these failures reflected increases in item memory for partners' responses rather than decreases in memory for self-generated ones. These studies suggest that when opportunities to anticipate partners' responses are available, self-generative activities may be associated with both self- and partner-generated items, influencing the expression of the generation effect.

Advantages of self-generated information for memory have been noted for well over two decades (see, e.g., Johnson, Raye, Foley, & Foley, 1981; Mulligan, 2001; Slamecka & Graf, 1978). In a prototypical study revealing these advantages, individuals generate materials following various kinds of encoding rules while also encoding materials provided by someone else. On subsequent memory tests, self-generated materials are often better recognized and recalled than the control materials provided by someone else. Furthermore, the self-generated materials are identified as such by the individual, showing advantages for both item and source memory (e.g., Foley & Ratner, 1998; Johnson et al., 1981; Kinjo & Snodgrass, 2000; R. L. Marsh & Hicks, 1998, Experiment 1).

The beneficial effects of generating are robust for both item and source memory (for reviews, see Greene, 1992; Mulligan, 2001,2004; Steffens & Erdfelder, 1998; Taconnat & Isingrini, 2004). Numerous demonstrations of these effects are documented across a variety of encoding (Foley & Foley, in press; Foley, Foley, Wilder, & Rusch, 1989; Johnson et al., 1981; Mulligan, 2001, 2004; Slamecka & Graf, 1978) and test (R. L. Marsh & Hicks, 1998; Srinivas & Roediger, 1990, Experiment 1) conditions. Moreover, they are maintained across relatively long retention intervals for both item memory (e.g., 7 days; Gardiner, Ramponi, & Richardson-Klavehn, 1999) and source memory (e.g., 10 days; Johnson et al., 1981).

In most investigations of the generation effect, experimenters are the source of control materials (e.g., Johnson etal., 1981; Mulligan, 2001; Slamecka & Graf, 1978). However, other individuals (in particular, partners who are involved in their own acts of generating as part of interactive exchanges) may also be the source of control materials (Baker-Ward, Hess, & Flannagan, 1990; Foley & Ratner, 1998; Jurica & Shimamura, 1999). The present studies were designed to investigate item and source memory in such collaborative exchanges, because in these contexts the generation effect may not be observed.

For example, after asking child triads to take turns performing and observing a series of play activities (e.g., playing a song on a xylophone, bouncing tennis balls into a trash can), Baker-Ward et al. (1990) reported that child participants recalled more "self" than "partner" actions. When friends were members of the triads, however, a generation effect was not observed. What is most interesting to us is that the disappearance of the generation effect resulted from a relative increase in the recall of partners' actions. …

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