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The effects of "effort after meaning" on recall: differences in within- and between-subjects designs

The effects of "effort after meaning" on recall: differences in within- and between-subjects designs

Memory and Cognition 37(4): 447-463

In four experiments, we examined free recall of ambiguous sentences with or without corresponding cues to facilitate comprehension, using Auble and Franks's (1978) paradigm to examine effort after meaning (Bartlett, 1932). The ambiguous sentences were studied without cues, with cues meaningfully embedded in them, with cues provided shortly before the sentence (precue), or with cues following the sentence after several seconds (delayed cue). When these conditions were manipulated within subjects, the process of cue integration in the pre- and delayed-cue conditions enhanced recall, relative to the no-cue and embedded-cue conditions. Furthermore, in a test condition in which subjects first attempted to recall the cues alone, recall was also best in the delayed-cue condition. The effects described above did not occur when the cue presentation conditions varied between subjects, and on a test of order reconstruction, there was even an advantage for sentences studied in the embedded-cue condition over those studied in the delayed-cue condition. The dissociative effects of experimental design on sentence recall and order reconstruction suggest that effort after meaning might enhance memory for study items at the cost of impairing memory for temporal order information.

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Accession: 056325907

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PMID: 19460952

DOI: 10.3758/mc.37.4.447

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