Source-constrained retrieval and survival processing
Three experiments investigated the mnemonic effects of source-constrained retrieval in the survival-processing paradigm. Participants were asked to make survival-based or control decisions (pleasantness or moving judgments) about items prior to a source identification test. The source test was followed by a surprise free recall test for all items processed during the experiment, including the new items (foils) presented during the source test. For the source test itself, when asked about the content of prior processing—did you make a survival or a pleasantness decision about this item?—no differences were found between the survival and control conditions. The final free recall data revealed a different pattern: When participants were asked to decide whether an item had been processed previously for survival, that item was subsequently recalled better than when the source query asked about pleasantness or relevance to a moving scenario. This mnemonic boost occurred across-the-board—for items processed during the initial rating phase and for the new items. These data extend the generality of source-constrained retrieval effects and have implications for understanding the proximate mechanisms that underlie the oft-replicated survival-processing advantage in recall and recognition.
KeywordsEvolution Memory Source-constrained retrieval Recall
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