Craik & Tulving - levels of processing

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  • Craik & Tulving (1975) "depth of processing and the retention of words in the episodic memory"
    • Aims
      • To test the claims of the levels of processing framework
      • To investigate whether processing words at different levels (semantically, phonetically, structurally) affected the recall of words
    • Results
      • Semantic processing did lead to a better memory of words - participants were more likely to recognize words from the list if they'd been processed at a semantic level
      • The percentage of structurally processed words that were correctly recognized  was 17%
      • The percentage of phonetically processed words that were correctly recognized was 36%
      • The percentage of semantically processed words that were correctly recognized was 65%
      • It was also noted that participants took longer to respond to the questions that required a deeper level of processing
    • Conclusions
      • The experiment supports the prediction made by the levels of processing approach
      • The deeper information that is processed, with semantic being the deepest and structural being the shallowest, the more likely it is to be remembered
    • Procedure
      • 1) 24 participants were tested individually and were shown 60 words via a tachistoscope for around 200 milliseconds
      • 3) each question related to a particular level of processing
        • Condition 1: structural processing, eg. "is the word in capital letters?"
        • Condition 2: phonetic processing, eg. "does the word rhyme with this word?"
        • Condition 3: semantic processing, eg. "does the word fit in this sentence?"
      • 2) before each word was displayed, a yes/no answer question was asked about the word
      • Repeated measures design - everyone took part in all three conditions
      • Experimenters used counter-balancing as the conditions were run in a variety of orders to ensure that no one type of processing always occurred first or last
      • 4) participants were then given an unexpected recall task - they had to recognize the 60 original words in a list of 180
      • IV - level of processing DV - number of words correctly remembered
    • Several variations of this procedure were reported


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