This study was a partial replication of Craik and Lockhart (1972). The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of different types of processing on the recognition of words. Twenty-one students participated in this study. This was a related subject design. The results showed that semantic words were recalled better than structural or phonological words, this means that words that were processed deeply were recalled easier than words that were not. The implications of this study were that educators could use Craik and Lockhart (1972) levels of processing theory to help students learn how to process information semantically as opposed to structurally or phonologically. This then may have a positive impact on a student’s academic performance and help them have a better education.
Craik and Lockhart (1972) levels of processing theory is an alternative to Atkinson and Shiffrin’s (1968) multistore model. Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) proposed that short-term memory does not possess the capability to store information for a long duration. This means that there isn’t a very long period for recall from the short-term memory. However, once information needs to be recalled from the long-term memory it can be recalled indefinitely unless the brain undergoes serious trauma or damage (Atkinson and Shiffrin, 1968).
An individual who had experienced injury to his brain because of a motorbike accident was the subject of a case study. The individual could not remember any recent memories as his short-term memory had been impaired, however, the individual was able to recall events that had occurred after his accident, this means his long-term memory had not been affected (Shallice and Warrington, 1970) This shows that the likelihood of separate long-term and short-term memory stores being an option. However, it demonstrates that information can be transferred to the long-term memory without going through any other memory stores.
Knowledge happens through numerous different processes. The Levels of Processing model is used to demonstrate why individuals possess a shallow trace of certain things and a deeper trace of others. (Craik and Lockhart, 1972)
Level of processing theory (Craik and Lockhart, 1972) suggests that memory happens via different processes. Shallow processing is separated into phonological (sound) and structural (visual) encoding. Nevertheless, the term deep processing means semantic encoding (Patel, 2015).
Throughout an experiment, participants were given numerous tasks and asked to complete each one. One of the tests was to find a term on a word list that rhymes with another word, or to locate a word that has the same meaning as another word on the list. (Elias and Perfetti, 1973). The rhyming task included only audio coding, which meant that was a structural level of processing. The task that involved synonyms included semantic coding, and this was a deep level of processing. The participants were not made aware that they would be asked to remember and recall the words and were naive to the experiment, however; the participants were able to recall various words when they were tested. This was called incidental learning. (Elias and Perfetti, 1973). When the participants were tested they were able to recall a lot more words following the task containing words that had to be put into a sentence than the task that involved rhyming the words. This suggests that words that require deeper levels of processing lead to better recall ability. (Elias and Perfetti, 1973).
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of different types of processing on the recognition of words.
Rationale – This study is important for educational purposes because rehearsing information numerous times isn’t always the correct way to learn. However, if educators teach student about the depth of processing theory and provide students with advice about the information on a deeper level (deep processing) then performance will can amongst the students.
The hypothesis for this study was that the Semantic words (Deep) will be easier to recall than phonological (Intermediate) and structural words (Shallow).
A Related subject design was used. There was one independent variable (IV) which was the depth of processing and three conditions. These three conditions were, Structural processing (Shallow), phonological processing (Intermediate) and semantic processing (Deep). The dependent variable (DV) was the number of words recognised. Participants took part in all three conditions. The three conditions were presented via PowerPoint, the questions from the three conditions were presented in a random order. 45 questions were shown to the participants in black writing on a blue background. Participants were given three practice trials with fifteen questions per condition. Fifteen of those words were shallow, fifteen were intermediate and fifteen were deep.
Twenty-one individuals took part in all three conditions of this study. Participants comprised of four males and seventeen females. The age varied between twenty and fifty-three. All the participants were undergraduate students from West Wales who took part in a class test. All participants were naive to the purpose of the experiment. This was a classroom experiment therefore, consent was presumptive. Participants were also provided with the right to withdraw.
• Question Lists
• 15 Structural questions (See appendix one for trial questions)
• 15 phonological questions (See appendix one for trial questions)
• 15 semantic questions (See appendix one for trial questions)
• Words were created by the experimenter
• The text font and size were Helvetica Neue, thirty-six.
• Words were presented on PowerPoint with black text displayed on a blue background
(See appendix one for procedure)
This results section outlines the results for the three conditions of deep, intermediate and shallow processing.
Table one shows that condition three (the deep processed words) displayed the largest mean compared to the shallow condition.
To test whether significant differences were present between the three conditions, a one-way Anova was carried out. F(2,40) = 129.057, P=.000
Means and standard deviations for shallow, intermediate and deep processing task.
Condition Mean Standard Deviation
Shallow 2.86 2.707
Intermediate 4.19 2.358
Deep 11.00 2.258
Follow up comparisons indicated that pairwise differences were present for conditions one and three (P=.000) and two and three (P=.000). Also, there was a pairwise difference between conditions three and one (P=.000) and conditions three and two (P=.000). However, between conditions one and two there was not a significant pairwise difference (P=.080) and between conditions three and two.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of different levels of processing on the recognition of words. The hypothesis was that participants were able to recall words better that had been processed semantically (deep) than phonological or semantic words. This then supports the depth of processing theory (Craik and Tulving, 1975). Craik and Lockhart (1972) proposed a type of rehearsal called elaborative rehearsal in their Levels of Processing theory. In contrast to maintenance rehearsal, which only involves repetition, Elaborative rehearsal comprises deep semantic processing of an item that needs to be remembered, this then result in memories. For example, if a participant is given a list of numbers that needs to be remembered for later recall (147281), arranging the numbers together to make a phone number changes the stimuli from something that has no meaning to something that does have a meaning (Craik and Lockhart, 1972). This means the hypothesis support Craik and Lockhart (1972) Levels of processing theory. The limitations of the study are that the one-way anova did not produce a significant difference between conditions one and two and conditions three and two. Another limitation to the study is that in the class experiment we conducted there were more females than males, this may have had an impact on the results. The implications of this study are that educators could use Craik and Lockhart (1972) levels of processing theory to help students learn how to process information semantically as opposed to structurally or phonologically. This may help students in the future as they do not have to use repetition to learn, this then may have a positive impact on a student’s academic performance and help them have a better education. According to Bell (1991) elaborative rehearsal is more efficient for the transfer of information from short-term memory to long-term memory and the storage of information in their long-term memory. Some students unintentionally use maintenance rehearsal as their main way of learning whilst in education. When students are learning language, they will write the word on one side and the meaning of that word on the other whilst repeating it repeatedly (Bell, 1991).