Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Daniel Roenker, Clinton Layne, James Craig

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


A review of the depth of processing literature revealed that the major criticism of the approach was that no independent measure of depth of processing had teen used. The present study was designed to compare the effects of three standard depth of processing tasks to a free -association baseline --the baseline constitutes an independent measure of depth of processing. Structural, phonemic, and semantic tasks were manipulated in the study and subjects were given cues or prompters as an aid in recall. Cues were taken from a list of target words used by Bahrick (1969). Bahrick's norms constituted a free -association baseline in that it represented the level of responding expected when subjects were merely free -associating to a cue. The purpose of the present study was to compare three incidental learning tasks (depth of processing tasks to the Bahrick baseline in order to guage the effects of the tasks relative to a situation in which subjects had learned nothing new but were simply giving a response to a prompter word. Two

levels of prompter (cue) words were used to enhance recall. The effect of the three standard depth of processing tasks was found to be significant and this is consistent with results obtained in - .her depth of processing studies. Also, as in other studies, an effect of congruency was found to he significant. However, when compared to an independent baseline, only one condition --a semantic task using a moderately effective level prompter word -- was found to be significantly different from the baseline. This supports the conclusion that only semantic processing tasks actually enhance cued -recall.


Cognitive Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences