The proximate memory mechanism underlying the survival-processing effect: Richness of encoding or interactive imagery?

  title={The proximate memory mechanism underlying the survival-processing effect: Richness of encoding or interactive imagery?},
  author={Meike Kroneisen and Edgar Erdfelder and Axel Buchner},
  pages={494 - 502}
Nairne and collaborators showed that assessing the relevance of words in the context of an imagined survival scenario boosts memory for these words. Although this survival-processing advantage has attracted a considerable amount of research, little is known about the proximate memory mechanism mediating this effect. Recently, Kroneisen and Erdfelder (2011) argued that it is not survival processing itself that facilitates recall but rather the richness and distinctiveness of encoding that is… 

Is the survival-processing memory advantage due to richness of encoding?

These results provide further evidence for the assumption that richness of encoding is an important proximate mechanism involved in memory performance in the survival-processing paradigm.

Working memory load eliminates the survival processing effect

Investigation of how the survival processing effect is affected by cognitive load found that the effect vanished under dual-task conditions, which was in line with the latter prediction.

Survival processing modulates the neurocognitive mechanisms of episodic encoding

These findings suggest that survival processing leads to a shift away from lower level encoding processes, which are sensitive to motivation and stimulus salience and which were evident in the control scenario, to more active and elaborative forms of encoding.

Adaptive memory: The survival-processing memory advantage is not due to negativity or mortality salience

The results suggest that thinking about death is much less effective in promoting recall than is thinking about survival, and therefore the survival-processing memory advantage cannot be satisfactorily explained by negativity or mortality salience.

Adaptive memory: thinking about function.

The theory that thinking about function is an important component of the survival processing effect is supported, as the beneficial effect of inducing a functional focus at encoding even surpasses that of the standard survival processing instruction.

Adaptive Memory: Identifying the Proximate Roots of the Survival Processing Advantage

Reducing the probability of elaborative processing through the survival-short processing instructions abolished the survival recall advantage and provided further evidence for the role of item-specific, relational, and elaborativeprocessing in the survival processing advantage.

Does survival context enhance memory for source? A within-subjects comparison

Four experiments were conducted to systematically investigate the survival advantage in source memory, when the context itself is the source, with both recall and recognition tests and showed a survival advantage for item memory over the control contexts in all experiments.

What kind of processing is survival processing?

Three experiments investigated the differences between studies to achieve a better understanding of dual-task effects on the survival-processing advantage and showed that the survival processing effect persisted under low load but vanished when the number of items held in working memory increased beyond one, irrespective of processing demands.

Adaptive memory: Is the animacy effect on memory due to richness of encoding?

This study tested a prediction derived from the assumption that processing animate words results in a richer set of associations to other items in memory than processing inanimate words, which may provide participants with a larger set of retrieval cues at test.



Picturing survival memories: Enhanced memory after fitness-relevant processing occurs for verbal and visual stimuli

The present findings support the idea that memory is enhanced by processing information in terms of fitness value, yet at the same time, the present results suggest that this may increase the risk for memory distortions.

Adaptive memory: determining the proximate mechanisms responsible for the memorial advantages of survival processing.

The present study suggests the proximate mechanisms for the effect and argues that survival processing may be fundamentally different from other memory phenomena for which item-specific and relational processing differences have been implicated.

On the plasticity of the survival processing effect.

It is argued that it is not survival processing per se that facilitates recall but the richness and distinctiveness with which information is encoded, and this effect is robust against encoding manipulations that do not affect the fitness relevance of information.

The future-orientation of memory: Planning as a key component mediating the high levels of recall found with survival processing

It is predicted, and found, that recall performance associated with tasks encouraging planning should exceed tasks that encouraged survival but not planning, and it is found that this is the case.

Does survival processing enhance implicit memory?

It is suggested that a survival-processing advantage may benefit participants’ memory performance only during explicit retrieval.

Adaptive memory: Is survival processing special?

Adaptive memory: Survival processing increases both true and false memory in adults and children.

  • H. OtgaarT. Smeets
  • Psychology
    Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition
  • 2010
Questions are questioned whether survival processing is an adaptive memory strategy per se, as such processing not only enriches true recall but simultaneously amplifies the vulnerability to false memories.

On the susceptibility of adaptive memory to false memory illusions

Adaptive memory: survival processing enhances retention.

In surprise retention tests, participants consistently showed the best memory when words were rated for survival; the survival advantage held across recall, recognition, and for both within-subject and between-subjects designs.

The mnemonic advantage of processing fitness-relevant information

The aim of the present study was to examine whether the advantage of survival processing could be replicated, using a control condition that was designed to match the survival processing task in arousal, novelty, and media exposure—the relevance to planning a bank heist.