, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 781-786
Date: 10 May 2011

Adaptive memory: fitness relevant stimuli show a memory advantage in a game of pelmanism

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In a series of articles, James Nairne, Josefa Pandeirada, and colleagues have shown that memory appears to be more efficient when information is processed in terms of fitness value (Nairne & Pandeirada, 2008a, 2008b; Nairne, Pandeirada, Gregory, & Van Arsdall, 2009; Nairne, Pandeirada, & Thompson, 2008; Nairne, Thompson, & Pandeirada, 2007). In these studies, participants were presented with a series of items that they were asked to process in a number of ways. For example, when encoding a word list, participants might be asked to process them in terms of “pleasantness.” Alternatively, they might be asked to imagine that the words were “stranded in the grasslands of a foreign land” and must rate how relevant the words would be in terms of survival (see, e.g., Nairne & Pandeirada 2008a, 2008b). The general finding is that processing in terms of survival relevance leads to superior retention when compared to processing at other levels, including levels that had previously been considered ...

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13423-011-0144-3