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What Is Adaptive about Adaptive Memory?$
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Bennett L. Schwartz, Mark L. Howe, Michael P. Toglia, and Henry Otgaar

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199928057

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199928057.001.0001

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Cognitive and Social Factors in the Study of Survival Memory

Cognitive and Social Factors in the Study of Survival Memory

(p.139) 8 Cognitive and Social Factors in the Study of Survival Memory
What Is Adaptive about Adaptive Memory?

Michael P. Toglia

Aaron D. Leedy

Adam M. Wilde

Catherine M. Baker

Eileen M. Dacey

Oxford University Press

Because semantic and/or elaborative encoding is often theorized to drive the illusory memory effect (DRM), if survival processing is a super-level semantic task as suggested by the survival processing advantage in veridical memory over other well-established semantic forms of processing (e.g., self-reference, pleasantness; see Nairne et al., 2008a), it is understandable that adaptive memory-oriented encoding would boost false memory. But why did we not see a bump in veridical memory? This lack of increase in true memory seems real enough given that we observed a relative decrease in veridical recall in the survival grasslands condition compared to pleasantness processing in Experiment 1. Additionally, we replicated this decrease in Experiment 2. The key to understanding this seems to be list structure and how it relates to item-specific and relational processing. When unrelated lists are presented at study, as in many of Nairne and colleagues’ experiments, participants focus on the specific items and a robust survival processing advantage is observed.

Keywords:   Survival processing, false memory, relational processing, item-specific processing, adaptive memory

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