, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 246-252

The generation effect: Further tests of the lexical activation hypothesis


Three experiments compared recognition memory for word versus nonword responses when they had been either read or generated using a rhyme rule and either a word or nonword stimulus. That is, either the wordshop or the nonwordthop was generated from either the wordchop or the nonwordphop. In Experiment 1, the lexicality of the stimulus and response terms was manipulated orthogonally between subjects; in Experiments 2 and 3, it was manipulated orthogonally within subjects. In Experiment 3, subjects also made a lexical (word-nonword) decision about each response term after it had been read or generated. In all three experiments, memory performance was better for generated than read responses. This generation effect occurred only if the response term was a word, regardless of whether the stimulus term was a word or a nonword. These results are discussed in terms of the roles that lexical memory and response unitization play in the generation effect.

Portions of this research were reported at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association held in Chicago in May, 1985. This research was supported in part by summer faculty grants from the Research Foundation of the State University of New York, to the first author, and from Purdue Research Foundation, to the second author.