Memory is a cognitive process that is vital to the function of human beings.
At its core, memory is the process in the brain that stores, retains, and recalls information. Recall of information that is processed in the brain has varying degrees of importance which affects the effectiveness of recall. Continually, the self reference effect is the tendency for individuals to retain information that has greater relevance to oneself over information that doesn’t relate to them. To investigate this further, the original research studied if the use of the level of encoding, self reference, will increase the number of target words identified.
(Mandernach, n.d.). The independent variable in this experiment was the level of encoding, meaning structural or self-referent, and the dependent variable was the number of target words identified. All participants were shown the same 20 target words in the first presentation. The first half of the words came with the structural question that was asked after each of the first 10 words, “Did the word end in an e?”.
The other half of the words contained the self reference question, “Does this word describe you?”. Then after a short break, the participants were shown a new presentation containing the 20 target words and 20 distracter words in a random order. After each word they were asked if it was one of the words shown. The experiment yielded a higher number of target words correctly identified when they correlated to the self-reference question. These results suggest that self-reference encoding increase accuracy of memory. The study features the investigation of the effects of self-referent encoding on memory. This study is ecologically valid because it is generalizable to all people because memory is a process carried out by all humans, and the findings can be applied to learning, studying, and remembering.
In this study, the words were split in half, had structural questions and self reference questions. Then the participants were tested on their ability to recall the words that were shown. The aim of this experiment was to determine if information relating to one’s self reciences reference in memory and if people organize information hierarchically.