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Depth Of Processing Model


There have been many experiments done on depth of processing and the self
reference effect. The Depth of Processing model of memory maintains that how
deep something is encoded into a person's memory depends on using certain types
of processing. This relates to the self reference effect because it is believed
that people have the tendency to remember something better when they can relate
it to themselves. People who can personally relate to something have the
tendency to embed it deeper into their memory. Craik and Tulving did a series of
experiments on the depth of processing model. They had participants use a series
of processing methods to encode words at different levels; shallow, moderate,
and deep. The subjects were shown a series of words and ask questions about the
words that would provide a "yes" or "no" response. At the
shallow level they were asked questions about whether or not the word was
written in capital letters. At the moderate level of processing, the subject was
asked questions as to whether or not two words rhymed. Finally, the subjects
were asked about words in sentences and whether or not they fit. This was the
deep level of processing. After participants had completed the task they were
then given a surprise recognition test with the words that they were just asked
questions on (target words) and then words that they have never seen before
(distraction words). The results of the experiment showed that people remembered
the words better that were at deeper level of processing (Craik and Tulving

1975). Although there was some criticisms about the above experiment, Craik and

Tulving performed more experiments each time refining the D.O.P. model. There
were thoughts that the structural tasks were easier and not as much time had to
be spent on them therefore people did not have as long to look at those words
and could not study them like the other tasks. Craik and Tulving then made the
structural task take equally as long as the other tasks. The results remand the
same as the previous experiments. Craik and Tulving also originally started with
five tasks, but then narrowed it down to three to avoid a ceiling effect. The
self-referent task was later added to model by Rogers. Palmere, Benton, Glover,
and Ronning (1983) did a series of experiments continuing the research on the
depth of processing model. They used paragraphs and within the paragraph there
were sentences that were supported and then ones that were not. After the
subjects were through reading all the paragraphs, they were then given a
recognition test on the information in the paragraph. The results of this
experiment showed that the subjects remember more information about the
sentences which were supported with other information rather the ones that stand
alone. This supports to the depth of processing because according to this
experiment people remember information that had more detail which would require
more thinking which would in turn encode the information at a much deeper level.

The deeper information is encode people are more likely able to recall the
information. Another experiment was done by Bower and Karlin (1974) which tested
the depth of processing model on memory fue faces. They used college student
pictures out yearbooks that were put onto slides. They then showed the slide to
the subjects who were asked questions. The subjects were then ask to look at a
serious of slides and asked whether or not that person had appeared in the
original group of slides shown. The results of this experiment showed that when
a person had a more detailed response about a person, the subject was more
inclined to remember that person from the original group. This relates back to
the Depth of Processing model because it showing by using more detail,
information can be processed more deeply.