Memory & Cognition

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 939–948

“Aha” effects in the generation of pictures

  • Theodore W. Wills
  • Sal A. Soraci
  • Richard A. Chechile
  • And Holly A. Taylor
Article

Abstract

An “aha” effect in memory was first reported by Auble, Franks, and Soraci (1979). They demonstrated that recall was greater for sentences that were initially incomprehensible but which were eventually comprehended, as compared with sentences that were understood from the outset. The present studies extend this “aha” effect to memory for pictorial stimuli. In Experiment 1, a recall advantage for pictures encoded by connecting the dots as compared with those encoded by tracing or visual scanning occurred only in the absence of foreknowledge of the picture (i.e., an “aha” effect). In Experiment 2, we replicated this finding and obtained evidence that conceptually based, verbal foreknowledge does not function in a similar manner as does pictorial foreknowledge in suppressing the “aha” recall advantage. These results place important constraints on previous research on generation effects for visual stimuli and attest to the cross-modal generalizability of the “aha” effect.

References

  1. Auble, P. M., Franks, J. J., &Soraci, S. A. J. (1979). Effort toward comprehension: Elaboration or “aha!”?Memory & Cognition,7, 426–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bruner, J. C., &Potter, M. C. (1964). Interference in visual recognition.Science,144, 424–425.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Engelkamp, J., Zimmer, H. D., Mohr, G., &Sellen, O. (1994). Memory of self-performed tasks: Self-performing during recognition.Memory & Cognition,22, 34–39.Google Scholar
  4. Glisky, E. L., &Rabinowitz, J. C. (1985). Enhancing the generation effect through repetition of operations.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,11, 193–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Graf, P. (1982). The memorial consequences of generation and transformation.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,21, 539–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Jacoby, L. M. (1978). On interpreting the effects of repetition: Solving a problem versus remembering a solution.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,17, 649–667.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Johns, E. J., &Swanson, L. G. (1988). The generation effect with nonwords.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,14, 180–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. McDaniel, M. A., Waddill, P. J., &Einstein, G. O. (1988). A contextual account of the generation effect: A three-factor theory.Journal of Memory & Language,27, 521–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. McElroy, L. A. (1987). The generation effect with homographs: Evidence for postgeneration processing.Memory & Cognition,15, 148–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. McNamara, D. S., &Healy, A. F. (1995). 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Morris, C. D., Bransford, J. D., &Franks, J. J. (1977). Levels of processing versus transfer appropriate processing.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,16, 519–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Peynircioĝlu, Z. F. (1989). The generation effect with pictures and nonsense figures.Acta Psychologica,70, 153–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Roenker, D. L., Wenger, S. K., Thompson, C. P., &Watkins, B. (1978). Depth of processing: When the principal of congruity fails.Memory & Cognition,6, 288–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Slamecka, N. J., &Graf, P. (1978). The generation effect: Delineation of a phenomenon.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning & Memory,4, 592–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Smith, R. W., &Healy, A. F. (1998). The time-course of the generation effect.Memory & Cognition,26, 135–142.Google Scholar
  16. Soraci, S. A., Carlin, M. T., Chechile, R. A., Franks, J. J., Wills, T., &Watanabe, T. (1999). Encoding variability and cuing in generative processing.Journal of Memory & Language,41, 541–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Soraci, S. A., Franks, J. J., Bransford, J. D., Chechile, R. A., Belli, R. F., Carr, M., &Carlin, M. (1994). Incongruous item generation effects: A multiple-cue perspective.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,20, 67–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore W. Wills
    • 1
  • Sal A. Soraci
    • 1
  • Richard A. Chechile
    • 1
  • And Holly A. Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTufts UniversityMedford

Personalised recommendations