Effects of Meaningful and Non-Meaningful Information on the Memory

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The theory levels of processing was proposed by Craik and Lockhart (1972) which rejects the idea of the dual coding theory that was proposed by Paivio (1971). The dual coding theory states that characteristics of memories are determined by either the short term memory store or the long term memory store, whereas the levels of processing theory proposes that information can be processed in multiple ways that depend on the level of depth of processing involved with the memory. For example, a ‘shallow’ memory will lead to a fragile memory trace which in turn is more likely to be forgotten than a memory that is more durable with more meaning. There are three ways in which information can be processed: Structural processing, phonemic processing and sematic processing. Structural and phonemic processing are two forms of shallow processing and sematic processing is a type of deep processing. Structural refers to how the words or letters look, phonemic refers to how the word sounds and sematic refers to giving words a meaning or linking the word to something memorable. There are two types of rehearsal that were proposed by Craik and Lockhart (1972) which are elaborative rehearsal and maintenance rehearsal. Maintenance rehearsal involves repetition of a memory in order to remember it. This type of rehearsal doesn’t make the memory stronger or more durable though. Elaborative rehearsal involves using sematic processing in order to create durable memories which are less likely to be forgotten than if maintenance rehearsal is used. Morris et al (1981) conducted an experiment where a group of participants had to listen to a radio broadcast of a classified football league results for 64 English and Scottish divisions. The group then had to write down as many scores as they could remember. They found that the participants who had a general knowledge about football were able to
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