Levels of Processing Theory

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Levels of Processing Theory

Craik and Lockhart (1972) said the concept of rehearsal is not enough to account for LTM. Their theory focuses on how incoming information is processed. They said that it is the level of processing that determines whether or not something is stored in the LTM. This means if you process something a lot or deeply by giving it a meaning it will be stored, whereas if you process something superficially then it will not be stored in the LTM. Craik and Lockhart decided there were 3 levels of processing. Physical Processing which is what it looks like, Phonemic Processing which is what it sounds like and Semantic Processing which is what it means.

        Craik and Tulving aimed to show if semantic processing led to better recall. Participants were shown a list of words which were 5 letter concrete nouns, for example, ‘table’.  They were asked 3 types of ‘yes or no’ questions about the Physical, Phonemic and Semantic characteristics of the word. Some participants were made aware of this experiment and some were not.

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        They found that participants did well on the Phonemic questions and best on the Semantic questions. They also found that intentional learners recalled better than incidental learners. However both learners were found to do best on Semantic questions.

        These findings suggest that information processed Semantically is more likely to be remembered than information processed Physically or Phonemically. However it can be argued that participants did better on the Semantic questions because they took longer to process than the shallow questions. They tested this possibility by conducting another experiment where the shallow questions took longer to perform and therefore took longer ...

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