The longevity of adaptive memory

Evidence for mnemonic advantages of survival processing 24 and 48 hours later

L. H. C. Raymaekers, H. Otgaar, T. Smeets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Prior studies have convincingly demonstrated that survival-related processing of information enhances its subsequent retention. This phenomenon, known as the survival recall advantage, generalises to other stimuli, memory domains, and research populations, thereby underscoring its reliability. As previous studies used only short retention intervals between survival processing and the memory test, an important yet hitherto unanswered issue is whether this effect persists over time. The present experiment therefore examined whether survival processing also produces mnemonic benefits when retention is tested after longer delay periods. Participants (N =81) rated the relevance of words according to a survival and a moving scenario, and were then randomly assigned to the typical immediate (3-minute delay) retention test condition or conditions that included a 24- or 48-hour interval between survival processing and memory testing. In each of these conditions survival processing led to higher surprise free recall and recognition rates than processing words according to the moving scenario. Thus this study provides evidence that illustrates the longevity of survival processing advantages on memory performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
JournalMemory
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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Word Processing
Mnemonics
Scenarios
Recognition (Psychology)
Surprise
Stimulus
Experiment
Testing
Free Recall

Cite this

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The longevity of adaptive memory : Evidence for mnemonic advantages of survival processing 24 and 48 hours later. / Raymaekers, L. H. C.; Otgaar, H.; Smeets, T.

In: Memory, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2014, p. 19-25.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Otgaar, H.

AU - Smeets, T.

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AB - Prior studies have convincingly demonstrated that survival-related processing of information enhances its subsequent retention. This phenomenon, known as the survival recall advantage, generalises to other stimuli, memory domains, and research populations, thereby underscoring its reliability. As previous studies used only short retention intervals between survival processing and the memory test, an important yet hitherto unanswered issue is whether this effect persists over time. The present experiment therefore examined whether survival processing also produces mnemonic benefits when retention is tested after longer delay periods. Participants (N =81) rated the relevance of words according to a survival and a moving scenario, and were then randomly assigned to the typical immediate (3-minute delay) retention test condition or conditions that included a 24- or 48-hour interval between survival processing and memory testing. In each of these conditions survival processing led to higher surprise free recall and recognition rates than processing words according to the moving scenario. Thus this study provides evidence that illustrates the longevity of survival processing advantages on memory performance.

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