Action concepts and the enactment effect

Kenny, Sophie Sylvie (2012) Action concepts and the enactment effect. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

When action lists are presented, participants do better on memory tests if they perform the action described while learning than if they remain still (Engelkamp & Krumnacker, 1980). According to the multimodal memory theory, this enactment effect originates at encoding, when motor information enriches the memory trace, leading to better performance at test (Engelkamp, 1998). In this thesis, a limiting condition for motor encoding to enhance memory for abstract arm motions was assessed: This was a test of the necessity of pre-existing action concepts for motor encoding to occur. A pilot study and three critical experiments were completed. The pilot study informed the design of the stimuli used throughout the thesis. Experiment I assessed the presence of an enactment effect with a recognition test. An enactment effect was demonstrated, but the re was no interaction with conceptual processing. Experiment 2 tested whether the enactment effect would be also be obtained in recall, in the absence of action concepts. Contrary to Experiment I, the enactment effect was not obtained. Experiment 3 replicated Experiment 2, with the change that conceptual processing was facilitated. The enactment effect was not obtained with this experiment either. The data provided mixed evidence for the multimodal memory theory, but one thing is clear: Action concepts are important for motor encoding, but not as specified by Engelkamp.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10792
Item ID: 10792
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 79-85).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 2012
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Acting out (Psychology); Motor learning; Active learning--Psychological aspects; Memory--Testing.

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