Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Effects of Depth of Processing and Handedness on Episodic Memory
by Butler, Michael, M.A., The University of Toledo, 2007, 36; 10835904
Abstract (Summary)

A large body of neurological studies indicates that both hemispheres of the brain are active during different memory processes. Mixed-handers, who have very close interhemispheric interaction, have been demonstrated to have superior episodic recall compared to strong-handers, whose interhemispheric communication is not as closely integrated. Previous studies involving episodic memory and handedness have focused on intentional memory, where information is willfully encoded with the knowledge that it will be needed later. Interestingly, incidental memories, which form without conscious effort, have been found to be nearly as durable as intentional memories. This study attempted to extend previous findings indicating a mixed-handed advantage for intentional episodic memory to incidental episodic memory using a levels of processing (LOP) paradigm. Attention to incoming information at different LOP during encoding has been shown to greatly affect subsequent episodic memory performance. Deeply processed information, which has been subjected to many elaborative processes, generates more retrieval paths and is much more easily recalled than shallowly processed information, which receives little elaboration. 182 participants were induced to form episodic memories under several encoding conditions representing a continuum of LOP. Three conditions relied on incidental encoding while a fourth relied on intentional encoding. Episodic recall for word lists was tested. Results replicated earlier findings in demonstrating LOP effects as well as confirming predictions that mixed-handers superior interhemispheric interaction would lead to better performance compared to strong-handers. Handedness differences were found to extend to incidental memory, with mixed-handers engaged in deep processing yielding the best recall performance. Strong-handers were also found to make significantly more recall errors than mixed-handers, with error rate closely related to strength of handedness. The results indicate that handedness differences arise at retrieval, and suggest follow-up studies that could confirm this by stimulating hemispheric interaction via saccadic eye movements.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Christman, Stephen
School: The University of Toledo
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: MAI 57/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology
Keywords: Episodic memory, Handedness, Incidental learning, Intentional learning, Levels of processing, Memory
Publication Number: 10835904
ISBN: 978-0-355-97057-9
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