Effort toward comprehension: Elaboration or “aha”?


Auble and Franks (1978) found that a process termed “effort toward comprehension” was important in facilitating recall of sentences. Four experiments were conducted to further elucidate the nature of this process. Two hypotheses were considered: (1)Effort toward comprehension involves greater elaboration or deeper processing of the sentence; (2)effort toward comprehension can be viewed as an “aha” experience (i.e., a state of noncomprehension followed by comprehension of the sentence). Results indicated that recall was significantly greater for subjects in conditions producing “aha” reactions. No support was found for the elaboration interpretation of effort toward comprehension.


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This research was supported in part by National Science Foundation Grant BNS 77437248, awarded to Jeffery Franks and John Bransford.

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Auble, P.M., Franks, J.J., Soraci, S.A. et al. Effort toward comprehension: Elaboration or “aha”?. Memory & Cognition 7, 426–434 (1979). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03198259

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  • Memory Trace
  • Recall Rate
  • Elaborative Processing
  • Redundancy Effect
  • Mixed Design Analysis