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The effects of divided attention at encoding on item and associative memory

Abstract

Divided attention at encoding is well known to have adverse effects on episodic memory performance (e.g., Naveh-Benjamin & Greg, 2000). This article attempts to determine whether these effects are a result of the interruption of encoding of associative information among the components of an episode. Five experiments, using different types of episodes and episodes components, were conducted. Participants studied information under either full or divided attention and were then tested on their memory for both the episodes’ components and the associations between them. Divided attention did not produce a differential deficit in memory for associative information; memory for the components suffered to the same degree as memory for the associations among the components. The cause of the divided-attention effect at encoding lies somewhere other than in the associative processes that are engaged.

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Correspondence to Moshe Naveh-Benjamin.

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This research was supported in part by a grant from the Ben-Gurion University Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as a grant from the Zlotowski Center for the Neurosciences.

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Naveh-Benjamin, M., Guez, J. & Marom, M. The effects of divided attention at encoding on item and associative memory. Memory & Cognition 31, 1021–1035 (2003). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03196123

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03196123

Keywords

  • Target Word
  • Free Recall
  • Recognition Test
  • Word Pair
  • Secondary Task