The second factor that operates with deep levels of processing is elaboration, whichinvolves rich processing in terms of meaning.
In Depth: The Self-Reference Effect
The self-reference effect points out that people recall more information when they try to relatethat information to themselves.
In the classic demonstration of self-reference effect, Rogers, Kuiper, and Kicker (1977) asked participants to process lists of words according to the kind of instructions usually studied inlevel-of-processing research that is, in terms of their physical characteristics, their acoustic(sound) characteristics, or their semantic (meaning) characteristics. However, other words wereto be processed in terms of self-reference:- People were asked to decide whether a particular word could be applied to them.
The results showed that the self-reference task produced the best recall. Apparently, when wethink about word in connection with ourselves, we develop a particularly memorable coding for that word.
For example, suppose that you are trying to decide whether the word generous applies to youyourself. You might, remember how you loaned your notes to a friend who, had missed class,and you shared a box of candy with the other people in the lounge-yes, generous does apply.The mental processes involved in the self-reference task seem to increase the chances that anitem will be recalled. The self-reference effect has been demonstrated repeatedly, for examplewith instructions to create mental imagery and creativity.
Applications of the Self-Reference Effect
One important application of the self-reference effect is obvious: when you want toremember material, try to relate it to your own experience or to your friends.
Reeder and his colleagues demonstrated that this technique works for prose passages, as well as isolated words.
The self-reference effect can also be applied to advertising.