Levels of Processing evaluation

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  • Evaluation of the Levels of Processing Approach
    • Useful alternative explanation to the multi-store model of memory which was very simplistic
    • Particularly important as it was the first explanation to investigate the processes that operate at the time of learning, and how these affect memory
    • Explains why some things are remembered better than others; learning is more than simply rehearsal
    • Application: the finding that we remember  things better if they have meaning can be used in education when revising
      • If you revise and understand what you've learnt, you'll rmember better in the exams
    • Considerable research supporting the approach
      • Craik & Tulving (1975): information processed semantically will be recalled better later
      • Hyde & Jenkins (1971): when participants carried out different tasks involving different levels of processing, there was a difference in recall
        • Participants who processed information semantically recalled 51% more words than those who didn't process semantically
    • Over-simplifyies the process of memory; no objective account of what semantic processing is
      • Different types of semantic processing lead to different amounts of recall, eg. the complexity of semantic task has been found to have an effect, with more complex tasks resulting in better recall
    • Cannot explain evidence that supports the distinction between the stm and the ltm, suggesting that there is more to memory than simply being a by-product of processing
      • Clive Wearing could semantically process new information, but this would have no effect on his ability to recall it later
    • Morris et al. (1977): the type of memory test given affects the ability to recall, instead of the level of processing
      • Participants encoded words semantically or phoneticall - tested by a standard recognition test or rhyming recognition
      • Performance on this task was better for words they had processed phonetically
    • It describes rather than explains memory
      • states that information that's elaborated will be recalled better but doesn't tell us why or give detail of the mechanisms that lead to this

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