The generation effect: Delineation of a phenomenon

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Reports on 5 experiments with 96 undergraduates, comparing memory for words that were generated by the Ss themselves with the same words when they were simply presented to be read. In all cases, performance in the Generate condition was superior to that in the Read condition. This held for measures of cued and uncued recognition, free and cued recall, and confidence ratings. The phenomenon persisted across variations in encoding rules, timed or self-paced presentation, presence or absence of test information, and between- or within-Ss designs. The effect was specific to the response items under recognition testing but not under cued recall. A number of potential explanatory principles are considered and their difficulties enumerated. It is concluded that the generation effect is real and that it poses an interesting interpretative problem. (23 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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