Examining the lag effect under incidental encoding: contributions of semantic priming and reminding.

Research paper by Dung C DC Bui, Geoffrey B GB Maddox, Fan F Zou, Sandra S SS Hale

Indexed on: 23 Apr '14Published on: 23 Apr '14Published in: Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006)


Memory is better when repeated learning events are spaced than when they are massed (spacing effect), as well as when material is processed semantically than when it is processed graphemically (levels-of-processing effect). Examination of the relationship between levels of processing and spacing for both deeply and shallowly encoded items has shown a spacing effect for items processed deeply, but not shallowly. A semantic priming account of spacing was proposed to explain the interaction between levels of processing and spacing on memory. The current study manipulated levels of processing and the amount of spacing (lag) that occurred between repetitions of items that were incidentally encoded. Results from Experiments 1A and 1B revealed lag effects in test performance when items were deeply and shallowly encoded. Although these findings are inconsistent with a semantic priming account, they can be interpreted within a reminding account, which is explored in Experiment 2. Results from the second experiment indicate that bringing reminding under conscious control benefited items that were presented at a long lag but not at a shorter lag. Together, this study provides evidence that is difficult to accommodate with a semantic priming account of spacing and instead provides additional support for a reminding account suggesting that automatic and controlled processes may both underlie the reminding process.