Psychological Research

, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 47–53

Motor similarity in subject-performed tasks

  • Johannes Engelkamp
  • Hubert D. Zimmer
Original Article


In two experiments, subjects learned action phrases in verbal and subject-performed tasks. They had to recognize these action phrases among foils that denoted either completely different actions, conceptually similar actions, or actions that were conceptually and motorically similar. It was found that recognition performance was impaired equally after both kinds of learning when conceptually similar distractors were used, but was impaired more after subject-performed-task learning when the distractors were both conceptually and motorically similar. The possible contribution of motor information in this interaction is discussed.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bahrick, H. P., & Boucher, B. (1968). Retention of visual and verbal codes of the same stimuli. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 78, 417–422.Google Scholar
  2. Cohen, R. L. (1981). On the generality of some memory laws. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 22, 267–281.Google Scholar
  3. Cohen, R. L. (1983). The effect of encoding variables on the free recall of words and action events. Memory & Cognition, 11, 575–582.Google Scholar
  4. Cohen, R. L. (1989). Memory for action events: The power of enactment. Educational Psychology Review, 1, 57–80.Google Scholar
  5. Cohen, R. L., Peterson, M., & Mantini-Atkinson, T. (1987). Interevent differences in event memory: Why are some events more recallable than others? Memory & Cognition, 15, 109–118.Google Scholar
  6. Dick, M. B., Kean, M. L., & Sands, D. (1989). Memory for action events in Alzheimer-type dementia: Further evidence of an encoding failure. Brain and Cognition, 9, 71–87.Google Scholar
  7. Engelkamp, J., & Krumnacker, H. (1980). Imaginale und motorische Prozesse beim Behalten verbalen Materials. Zeitschrift für experimentelle und angewandte Psychologie, 27, 511–533.Google Scholar
  8. Engelkamp, J., & Zimmer, H. D. (1983). Der Einfluß von Wahrnehmen und Tun auf das Behalten von Verb-Objekt-Phrasen. Sprache und Kognition, 2, 117–127.Google Scholar
  9. Engelkamp, J., & Zimmer, H. D. (1989). Memory for action events: A new field of research. Psychological Research, 51, 153–157.Google Scholar
  10. Engelkamp, J., Zimmer, H. D., & Biegelmann, U. E. (1993). Bizarreness in verbal tasks and in subject-performed tasks. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 5, 393–415.Google Scholar
  11. Engelkamp, J., Zimmer, H. D., & Mohr, G. (1990). Differential memory effects of concrete nouns and action verbs. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 198, 189–216.Google Scholar
  12. Goldstein, A. G., & Chance, J. E. (1970). Visual recognition memory for complex configurations. Perception & Psychophysics, 9, 237–241.Google Scholar
  13. Helstrup, T. (1989). Loci for act recall: Contextual influence on processing of action events. Psychological Research, 51, 168–175.Google Scholar
  14. Homa, D., & Viera, C. (1988). Long-term memory for pictures under conditions of thematically related foils. Memory & Cognition, 16, 411–421.Google Scholar
  15. Knopf, M. (1991). Having shaved a kiwi fruit: Memory of unfamiliar subject-performed actions. Psychological Research, 53, 203–211.Google Scholar
  16. Mohr, G., Engelkamp, J., & Zimmer, H. D. (1989). Recall and recognition of self-performed acts. Psychological Research, 51, 181–187.Google Scholar
  17. Nelson, T. O., Metzler, J., & Reed, D. A. (1974). Role of details in the long-term recognition of pictures and verbal descriptions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 102,184–1866.Google Scholar
  18. Nelson, D. L., Reed, V S., & Walling, J. R. (1976). Pictorial superiority effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 2, 523–528.Google Scholar
  19. Nilsson, L. G., & Bäckman, L. (1991). Encoding dimensions of subject-performed tasks. Psychological Research, 53, 212–218.Google Scholar
  20. Saltz, E., & Donnenwerth-Nolan, S. (1981). Does motoric imagery facilitate memory for sentences? A selective interference test. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 20, 322–332.Google Scholar
  21. Shepard, R. N. (1967). Recognition memory for words, sentences and pictures. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 6, 156–163.Google Scholar
  22. Shepard, R. N., & Chang, J. J. (1963). Forced-choice tests of recognition memory under steady-state conditions. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 2, 93–101.Google Scholar
  23. Wiseman, S., & Neisser, U. (1974). Perceptual organization as a determinant of visual recognition memory. American Journal of Psychology, 87, 675–681.Google Scholar
  24. Zimmer, H. D. (1991). Memory after motoric encoding in a generation-recognition model. Psychological Research, 53, 226–231.Google Scholar
  25. Zimmer, H. D., & Engelkamp, J. (1984). Planungs- und Ausführungsanteile motorischer Gedächtniskomponenten und ihre Wirkung auf das Behalten ihrer verbalen Bezeichnungen. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 192 379–402.Google Scholar
  26. Zimmer, H. D., & Engelkamp, J. (1985). An attempt to distinguish between kinematic and motor memory components. Acta Psychologica, 58, 81–106.Google Scholar
  27. Zimmer, H. D., & Engelkamp, J. (1989a). Does motor encoding enhance relational information? Psychological Research, 51, 158–167.Google Scholar
  28. Zimmer, H. D., & Engelkamp, J. (1989b). One, two or three memories: Some comments and new findings. Acta Psychologica, 70, 293–304.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Engelkamp
    • 1
  • Hubert D. Zimmer
    • 1
  1. 1.FR PsychologieUniversität des SaarlandesSaarbrückenGermany

Personalised recommendations