Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Production Benefits Both Recollection and Familiarity

Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Production Benefits Both Recollection and Familiarity

Article excerpt

Published online: 30 November 2011

# Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2011

Abstract In three experiments, we investigated the roles of recollection and familiarity in the production effect-the finding that words read aloud are remembered better than words read silently. Experiment 1, using the remember/know procedure, and Experiment 2, using the receiver operating characteristic procedure, converged in demonstrating that production enhanced both recollection and familiarity. Experiment 3 supported the role of recollection by demonstrating that specific episodic information-that is, whether a word had been studied aloud or silently-was stronger for items studied aloud. These findings fit with an explanation of the production effect as hinging on two factors: greater recollection of distinctive information from the study episode, and more familiarity due to greater attention allocated to the material studied aloud.

Keywords Production . Recollection . Familiarity

Very few encoding manipulations result in consistent, reliable memory benefits when a to-be-remembered stimulus is presented only once. Well-established mnemonics include imagery (Paivio, 1971), elaboration (i.e., levels of processing; Craik & Lockhart, 1972; Craik & Tulving, 1975), generation (Slamecka & Graf, 1978; see Bertsch, Pesta, Wiscott, & McDaniel, 2007, for a review and meta-analysis), and enactment (e.g., Cohen, 1981; Engelkamp & Krumnacker, 1980; see Engelkamp, 1998; Zimmer et al., 2001, for a review). To this list might be added lesser-known techniques such as narrative chaining (Bower & Clark, 1969), and newer techniques such as survival processing (Nairne & Pandeirada, 2008), but even then, the list is short.

Over the course of the last four decades, another mnemonic technique was discovered (Hopkins & Edwards, 1972)-and rediscovered (Conway & Gathercole, 1987; Dodson & Schacter, 2001; Gathercole & Conway, 1988; MacDonald & MacLeod, 1998)-but each time it was forgotten, despite clear and compelling data. Yet this technique is so very simple: When some words from a list are read aloud and others are read silently, memory is considerably enhanced for the words read aloud. MacLeod, Gopie, Hourihan, Neary, and Ozubko (2010; see also Hourihan & MacLeod, 2008; Lin & MacLeod, 2011; MacLeod, in press; Ozubko & MacLeod, 2010) recently reintroduced this robust mnemonic and provided it with a name: the production effect.

The production effect represents a dependable and substantial enhancement of memory, measurable in both recognition (MacLeod et al., 2010) and recall (Conway & Gathercole, 1987; Gathercole & Conway, 1988; Lin & MacLeod, 2011). In the experiments to date, this straightforward manipulation has routinely boosted memory by 10% to 25%. Moreover, unlike other mnemonic techniques-in which the to-be-remembered information must be capable of being imagined, must be capable of being enacted, must be elicited from a well-matched cue, or must be sufficiently meaningful to permit elaborate processing-the production effect relies only on making a unique response to a stimulus- characteristically, simply saying it aloud. Furthermore, even following deep semantic encoding, MacLeod et al. observed a reliable production advantage. This points to another remarkable aspect of the production effect: It benefits retention whether the information is initially encoded weakly or strongly. MacLeod et al. demonstrated a production effect not only for items initially encoded by reading, but even for items initially encoded by generation or deep semantic processing (ruling out the "lazy reading hypothesis"; cf. Begg & Snider, 1987). In sum, the breadth of materials and encodings that can benefit from a production boost appears to be extensive, a point underscored by Forrin, MacLeod, and Ozubko (2011), who showed reliable enhancements for spelling, typing, and writing, among other modes of production. …

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