Meaningful-interpretation effects on codes of nonsense pictures

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Investigated the effect of meaningful interpretation on memory for nonsense pictures in 3 experiments using undergraduate Ss. In Exp I, 54 Ss studied pictures, each of which was accompanied by a meaningful label, a nonmeaningful label, or no label. In Exp II, they generated either a semantic interpretation or physical description for each picture. In Exp III, 54 Ss indicated, for each picture, whether a given semantic or physical label was true or false. In each case, retention was assessed by a recognition test consisting of old items, physically changed distractors that did not alter meaning, and distractors that did alter meaning. Ss who meaningfully interpreted the pictures excelled at detecting semantic-change distractors in all 3 experiments. However, little evidence was obtained that they retained more information about the physical appearance of the pictures than Ss who encoded them nonmeaningfully. Results indicate that the benefits of semantic encoding in this task are limited to tests of semantic rather than physical knowledge. (45 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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