Levels of Processing and Memory 1
Craik and Lockhart (1972) developed a theory in which
they discussed the levels of processing. The theory states,
the more a word is processed, due to its meaning, the
better the word is retained. In our experiment we presented
subjects with a yes or no question pertaining to the meaning of a word or the appearance of a word and then measured their reaction time. Subjects were then asked to recall as many words that they could remember, results showed that there was a significant difference in reaction times and the number of words that were recalled.
According to Dewey Rundus (1971) the more an item is rehearsed, the higher the probability the item will be remembered. Herman Ebbinghaus (1885) concluded that in order to remember and learn items we must repeat them. He developed the nonsense syllable, which is a word that is composed of two consonants with a vowel in between. A nonsense syllable could not be a real word (would not be found in the dictionary). Ebbinghaus wanted to minimize the effects of association that have already been made with words that we are familiar with. Using nonsense syllables he determined that frequency of appearance is directly
Levels of Processing and Memory 2
correlated with the amount one recalls (Lundin 1996). The rehearsal theory states that recall should mimic reaction time in our experiment. The longer a word is kept in mind, the better it will be recalled. Repetition plays an important role in the processes of memory but it is not the only factor that affects how much one can recall.
Craik and Watkins (1973) disputed that repetition improves memory. They performed an experiment to determine that repetition didn’t improve memory but that the speed which the words were presented. Subjects were read a list of words, but before they heard the words they were given a critical letter and were asked to remember the last word from the list that began with that particular letter. Subjects thought that they could ignore the other words on the list that did not pertain to the critical letter. The subjects were then unexpectedly asked to recall as many words from the list that they could remember and not just the ones that contained the critical letter. Craik and Watkins (1973 did not find a relation between the amount of words recalled and rehearsed.
Craik and Lockhart (1972) developed a theory in which they discussed the levels of processing. The theory states, the more a word is processed, due to its meaning, the better
Levels of Processing and Memory 3
the word is retained. The time that one is exposed to the stimuli is of last importance but the stimulus that is analyzed due to its meaning is more deeply processed and is remembered better.
The level of processing theory differs from Rundus (1971) theory on repetition. Rundus felt that if one were exposed to a word repeatedly then they would be more likely to recall it. Craik and Lockhart (1972), their theory of processing states that it does not matter how many times or how long the word is shown, but if the meaning of the word was thought about the meaning of the word, then the word would be more easily recalled.
Ten random college students participated in this experiment. Each subject was used in both conditions. Each condition contained a question with ten words. Each subject answered two questions, one pertaining to the meaning of ten words and the other pertaining to the appearance of ten words. There was actually twenty answers, each question was asked before each word was given.
Levels of Processing and Memory 4
To create our experiment my partner and I used the Aldus Superpaint program and the Mindlab program on a Macintosh computer.
First we chose two questions. The question that pertained to the meaning words was " Is this alive?" The question that pertained to the appearance word was "Are there more consonants than vowels?" Next we needed ten words for each question that subjects could answer with a yes or no response. It was very difficult finding words that would pertain to both questions, but after a lot of thought and searching my partner and I found 10 words for each