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The Role of Encoding Strategy in the Memory for Expectation-Violating Concepts

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
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  • 1 Department of Psychology, State University of New YorkFarmingdale State CollegeFarmingdale, New YorkUnited States
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Abstract

Minimal counterintuitiveness and its automatic processing has been suggested as the explanation of persistence and transmission of cultural ideas. This purported automatic processing remains relatively unexplored. We manipulated encoding strategy to assess the persistence of memory for different types of expectation violation. Participants viewed concepts including two types of expectation violation (schema-level or domain-level) or no violation under three different encoding conditions: in the shallow condition participants focused on the perceptual attributes of the concepts, a deep condition probed their semantic meaning, and intentional remembering condition. Participants’ recall was tested immediately as well as 2 weeks later. Our findings showed the greatest memory enhancement for schema-level violations regardless of the encoding condition, while the memory for domain-level violations improved over time. These results suggest two distinct memory patterns for different types of violations, and illustrate the importance of elaborative processes in memory consolidation especially for violations to our expectations.

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