Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Processing strategies and the generation effect: Implications for making a better reader

Abstract

When presented with items that must be generated versus read at encoding, individuals typically remember better those items that they generated versus those that they only read. We examined whether— given the opportunity to experience such differential memorial consequences of generating versus reading—participants might change how they processed future to-be-read information. In a first set of two experiments, participants were able to profit from such an experience to the extent that a generation advantage was eliminated on subsequent memory tests of generated and read items. Two additional experiments demonstrated the critical nature of this experience in leading to improved processing of future to-be-read information and elimination of a generation advantage. We believe that these results relate to the characterization of the learner emerging from recent metacognitive research and have possible implications for how learners might be induced to process information more effectively.

References

  1. Begg, I., Vinski, E., Frankovich, L., &Holgate, B. (1991). Generating makes words memorable, but so does effective reading.Memory & Cognition,19, 487–497.

  2. Benjamin, A. S., &Bjork, R. A. (1996). Retrieval fluency as a metacognitive index. In L. M. Reder (Ed.),Implicit memory and metacognition: The 27th Carnegie Symposium on Cognition (pp. 309–338). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

  3. Benjamin, A. S., Bjork, R. A., &Schwartz, B. L. (1997). The mismeasure of memory: When retrieval fluency is misleading as a metamnemonic index.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,127, 55–68.

  4. Bjork, E. L., &Bjork, R. A. (1996). Continuing influences of to-beforgotten information.Consciousness & Cognition,5, 176–196.

  5. Bjork, R. A. (1972). Theoretical implications of directed forgetting. In A. W. Melton & E. Martin (Eds.),Coding processes in human memory. Washington, DC: Winston & Sons.

  6. Bjork, R. A. (1989). Retrieval inhibition as an adaptive mechanism in human memory. In H. L. Roediger III & F. I. M. Craik (Eds.),Varieties of memory and consciousness: Essays in honour of Endel Tulving (pp. 309–330). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

  7. Bjork, R. A. (1999). Assessing our own competence: Heuristics and illusions. In D. Gopher & A. Koriat (Eds.),Attention and performance XVII—Cognitive regulation of performance: Interaction of theory and application. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  8. Brigham, M. C., &Pressley, M. (1988). Cognitive monitoring and strategy choice in younger and older adults.Psychology & Aging,3, 249–257.

  9. Christina, J. F., &Bjork, R. A. (1991). Optimizing long-term retention and transfer. In D. Druckman & R. A. Bjork (Eds.),In the mind’s eye: Enhancing human performance (pp. 23–56). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

  10. Crutcher, R. J., &Healy, A. F. (1989). Cognitive operations and the generation effect.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,15, 669–675.

  11. deWinstanley, P. A. (1995). A generation effect can be found during naturalistic learning.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review,2, 538–541.

  12. deWinstanley, P. A., &Bjork, E. L. (1997). Processing instructions and the generation effect: A test of the multifactor transfer-appropriate processing theory.Memory,5, 401–421.

  13. deWinstanley, P. A., Bjork, E. L., &Bjork, R. A. (1996). Generation effects and the lack thereof: The role of transfer-appropriate processing.Memory,4, 31–48.

  14. Dunlosky, J., &Hertzog, C. (2000). Updating knowledge about encoding strategies: A componential analysis of learning about strategy effectiveness from task experience.Psychology & Aging,15, 462–474.

  15. Dunlosky, J., &Nelson, T. O. (1994). Does the sensitivity of judgments of learning (JOLs) to the effects of various study activities depend on when the JOLs occur?Journal of Memory & Language,33, 545–565.

  16. Gardiner, J. M., &Arthurs, F. S. (1982). Encoding context and the generation effect in multitrial free-recall learning.Canadian Journal of Psychology,36, 527–531.

  17. Hirshman, E. L., &Bjork, R. A. (1988). The generation effect: Support for a two-factor theory.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,14, 484–494.

  18. Jacoby, L. L. (1978). On interpreting the effects of repetition: Solving a problem versus remembering a solution.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,17, 649–667.

  19. Jacoby, L. L., Bjork, R. A., &Kelley, C. M. (1994). Illusions of comprehension, competence, and remembering. In D. Druckman & R. A. Bjork (Eds.),Learning, remembering, believing: Enhancing human performance (pp. 57–81). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

  20. Johnson, H. (1994). Processes of successful intentional forgetting.Psychological Bulletin,116, 274–292.

  21. Koriat, A. (1997). Monitoring one’s own knowledge during study: A cue-utilization approach to judgments of learning.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,127, 349–370.

  22. Koriat, A. (1998). Illusions of knowing: The link between knowledge and metaknowledge. In V. Y. Yzerbyt, G. Lories, & B. Dardenne (Eds.),Metacognition: Cognitive and social dimensions (pp. 16–34). London: Sage.

  23. Lawson, M. J., &Chinnappan, M. (1994). Generative activity during geometry problem solving: Comparison of the performance of highachieving and low-achieving high school students.Cognition & Instruction,12, 61–93.

  24. MacLeod, C. M. (1998). Directed forgetting. In J. M. Golding & C.M. MacLeod (Eds.),Intentional forgetting: Interdisciplinary approaches (pp. 1–57). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

  25. Mazzoni, G., &Nelson, T. O. (1995). Judgments of learning are affected by the kind of encoding in ways that cannot be attributed to the level of recall.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,21, 1263–1274.

  26. McDaniel, M. A., Waddill, P. J., &Einstein, P. J. (1988). A contextual account of the generation effect: A three-factor theory.Journal of Memory & Language,27, 521–536.

  27. McNamara, D. S., &Healy, A. F. (1995a). A generation advantage for multiplication skill training and nonword vocabulary acquisition. In A. F. Healy & L. E. Bourne, Jr. (Eds.),Learning and memory of knowledge and skills: Durability and specificity. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  28. McNamara, D. S., &Healy, A. F. (1995b). A procedural explanation of the generation effect: The use of an operand retrieval strategy for multiplication and addition problems.Journal of Memory & Language,34, 399–416.

  29. McNamara, D. S., &Healy, A. F. (2000). A procedural explanation of the generation effect for simple and difficult multiplication problems and answers.Journal of Memory & Language,43, 652–679.

  30. Metcalfe, J., &Shimamura, A. P. (1994).Metacognition: Knowing about knowing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  31. Nelson, T. O., &Narens, L. (1990). Metamemory: A theoretical framework and new findings. In G. H. Bower (Ed.),The psychology of learning and motivation: Advances in research and theory (Vol. 26, pp. 125–141). San Diego: Academic Press.

  32. Pesta, B. J., Sanders, R. E., &Murphy, M. D. (1999). A beautiful day in the neighborhood: What factors determine the generation effect for simple multiplication problems?Memory & Cognition,27, 106–115.

  33. Peynircioğlu, Z. F., &Mungan, E. (1993). Familiarity, relative distinctiveness, and the generation effect.Memory & Cognition,21, 367–374.

  34. Sahakyan, L., Delaney, P. F., &Kelley, C. M. (2004). Self-evaluation as a moderating factor of strategy change in directed forgetting benefits.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review,11, 131–136.

  35. Sahakyan, L., &Kelley, C. M. (2002). A contextual change account of the directed forgetting effect.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,28, 1064–1072.

  36. Schmidt, R. A., &Bjork, R. A. (1992). New conceptualizations of practice: Common principles in three paradigms suggest new concepts for training.Psychological Science,3, 207–217.

  37. Shaughnessy, J. J. (1981). Memory monitoring accuracy and modification of rehearsal strategies.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,20, 216–230.

  38. Simon, D., &Bjork, R. A. (2001). Metacognition in motor learning.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,27, 907–912.

  39. Slamecka, N. J., &Graf, P. (1978). The generation effect: Delineation of a phenomenon.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning & Memory,4, 592–604.

  40. Wittrock, M. C. (1990). Generative processes of comprehension.Educational Psychologist,24, 345–376.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Patricia Ann DeWinstanley.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

DeWinstanley, P.A., Bjork, E.L. Processing strategies and the generation effect: Implications for making a better reader. Memory & Cognition 32, 945–955 (2004). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03196872

Download citation

Keywords

  • Generation Effect
  • Memory Test
  • Critical Item
  • Distractor Task
  • Word Fragment