The assessment of verbal and imaginal encoding processes in the bizarreness effect Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 21, 2019
Creator
  • Besken, Miri
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Abstract
  • The bizarreness effect refers to the finding that sentences that are contrary to the expectations or general world knowledge (e.g. The dog rode the bicycle down the street) produce superior memory as compared to mundane and schema-consistent sentences (e.g. The dog chased the bicycle down the street). There are two major accounts that try to explain the role of the encoding processes in the emergence of the bizarreness effect. The imaginal encoding accounts contend that increased visual processing for the bizarre sentences is responsible for the superior memory. The verbal rehearsal accounts, on the other hand, argue for the role of increased verbal elaboration processes for the bizarre items in the emergence of the bizarreness effect. This project aimed to discourage one of the processes during sentence encoding through the use of a concurrent working memory (WM) task known to selectively impair either verbal or visual WM, to investigate whether the size of the bizarreness effect decreases in any of the distraction conditions. Using tasks such as visual dynamic noise (Experiment 1), spatial tapping (Experiment 2) and visual patterns task (Experiment 3 & 6) that are well known to disrupt visual processing selectively, there was no decrement in the size of the bizarreness effect. Similarly, using tasks such as irrelevant speech (Experiment 1), articulatory suppression (Experiment 2) and letter span task (Experiment 4 & 7) that are well known to disrupt verbal processing selectively, there was no decrement in the size of the bizarreness effect. The results strongly argue against the role of visual and verbal WM processes in the emergence of the bizarreness effect. The results are discussed in terms of Baddeley's working memory model and the attentional accounts of the bizarreness effect.
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  • ... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Psychology.
Advisor
  • Mulligan, Neil
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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