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Production improves memory equivalently following elaborative vs non-elaborative processing

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Words that are read aloud are better remembered than those read silently. Recent research has suggested that, rather than reflecting a benefit for produced items, this production effect may reflect a cost to reading silently in a list containing both aloud and silent items (Bodner, Taikh, & Fawcett, 2013). This cost is argued to occur because silent items are lazily read, receiving less attention than aloud items which require an overt response. We examined the possible role of lazy reading in the production effect by testing whether the effect would be reduced under elaborative encoding, which precludes lazy reading of silent items. Contrary to a lazy reading account, we found that production benefited generated words as much as read words (Experiment 1) and deeply imagined words as much as shallowly imagined words (Experiment 2). We conclude that production stands out as equally distinct—and consequently as equally memorable—regardless of whether it accompanies deep or shallow processing, evidence that is inconsistent with a lazy reading account.
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Keywords: Distinctiveness; Elaborative encoding; Production effect

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: July 4, 2014

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