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

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Psychology, State University of New York, Farmingdale State College, Farmingdale, New York, United States

Login via Institution

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.

  • Atran, S. (1998). Folk biology and the anthropology of science: Cognitive universals and cultural particulars. Behavioral & Brain Sciences, Vol. 21(4), 547569.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Atran, S. (2002). In gods we trust: The evolutionary landscape of religion. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Baron-Cohen, S. (1999). Does the study of autism justify minimalist innate modularity? Learning and Individual Differences, Vol. 10, 179191.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barrett, J. L. (2000). Exploring the Natural Foundations of Religion. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 4(1), 2934.

  • Barrett, J. L. (2004). Why would anyone believe in god? Walnut Creek, CA.

  • Barrett, J. L., & Nyhof, M. (2001). Spreading non-natural concepts: the role of intuitive conceptual structures in memory and transmission of cultural materials. Journal of Cognition & Culture, Vol. 1, 69100.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barrett, J. L., & Keil, F. C. (1996). Anthropomorphism and God concepts: conceptualizing a non-natural entity. Cognitive Psychology, Vol. 3, 219247.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barrett, J., Burdett, E., & Porter, T. J. (2009). Counterintuitiveness in folktales: finding the cognitive optimum. Journal of Cognition & Culture, Vol. 9, 271287.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bartholow, B. D., Fabiani, M., Gratton, G., & Bettencourt, B. A. (2001). A psychophysiological examination of cognitive processing of and affective responses to social expectancy violations. Psychological Science, Vol. 12, 197204.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Besson, M., Kutas, M., & Van Petten, C. (1992). An event-related potential (ERP) analysis of semantic congruity and repetition effects in sentences. Journal of Cognitive Neurosciences, Vol. 4(2), 132149.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Boyer, P. (1992). Explaining religious ideas: Outline of a cognitive approach. Numen, Vol. 39, 2757.

  • Boyer, P. (1994). The naturalness of religious ideas: A cognitive theory of religion. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • Boyer, P. (2001). Religion explained: The evolutionary origins of religious thought. New York, NY: Basic Books.

  • Boyer, P., & Ramble, C. (2001). Cognitive templates for religious concepts: Cross-cultural evidence for recall of counter-intuitive representations. Cognitive Science, Vol. 25, 535564. doi:10.1207/s15516709cog2504_2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bruner, J., & Postman, L. (1949). On the perception of incongruity: a paradigm. Journal of Personality, Vol. 18, 206223.

  • Brysbaert, M., & New, B. (2009). Moving beyond Kucera and Francis: A Critical Evaluation of current word frequency norms and the introduction of a new and improved word frequency measure for American English. Behavioral Research Methods, Vol. 41, 977990.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Craik, F. I. M. (2002). Levels of processing: Past, present and future? Memory, Vol. 10 (5/6), 305318.

  • Craik, F. I. M., & Lockhart, R. S. (1972). Levels of processing – framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, Vol. 11, 671684.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Craik, F. I. M., & Tulving, E. (1975). Depth of processing and the retention of words in episodic memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol. 104, 268294.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Challis, B. H., & Sidhu, R., (1993), Dissociative effect of massed repetition on implicit and explicit measures of memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, Vol. 19, 115127.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chang, L. J., and Sanfey, A. G. (2009) Unforgettable ultimatums? Expectation violations promote enhanced social memory following economic bargaining. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol. 3, 36.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dawkins, R. (1989). The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press.

  • Dennett, D. (1987). The Intentional Stance. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press/Bradford Books.

  • Delaney, P. F., & Knowles, M. E. (2005). Differential effects of spaced vs. massed training in long-term object-identity and object-location recognition memory. Journal of Memory and Language, Vol. 52(1), 120130.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Eysenck, M. (1979). Depth, elaboration, and distinctiveness, in Levels of processing in human memory, eds. L. S. Cermak and F. I. M. Craik (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates), 331354.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Frith, C. D., Friston, K. J., Liddle, P. F., et al (1991). Willed action and the prefrontal cortex in man: a study with PET. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Biology, Vol. 244, 241246.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gregory, J. P., & Barrett, J. L. (2009). Epistemology and counterintuitiveness: Role and relationship in epidemiology of cultural representations. Journal of Cognition and Culture, Vol. 9, 289314.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gregory, J. P., & Greenway, T. S. (2017). The Mnemonic of Intuitive Ontology Violation is not the Distinctiveness Effect: Evidence from a Broad Age Spectrum of Persons in the UK and China during a Free-Recall Task. Journal of Cognition and Culture, Vol. 17, 169197.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hirshman, E. (1988). The expectation-violation effect: Paradoxical effects of semantic relatedness. Journal of Memory & Language, Vol. 27, 4058.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hornbeck, R. & Barrett, J. L. (2013). Refining and Testing “Counterintuitiveness” in Virtual Reality: Cross-Cultural Evidence for Recall of Counterintuitive Representations. The International Journal of Psychology of Religion, Vol. 23, 1528.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hunt, R. R., & McDaniel, M. A. (1993). The enigma of organization and distinctiveness. Journal of Memory and Language, Vol. 32, 421445.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hunt, R. R., & Smith, R. E. (1996). Accessing the particular from the general: The power of distinctiveness in the context of organization. Memory & Cognition, Vol. 24, 217225.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jay, T., Caldwell-Harris, C., & King, K. (2008). Recalling taboo and nontaboo words. American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 121(1), 83103.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kapur, S., Craik, B. I. M., Tulving, E., Wilson, A. A., Houle, S., & Brown, G. M. (1994). Neuroanatomical correlates of encoding in episodic memory: Levels of processing effect. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 91, 20082011.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kavanagh, C. M. (2011) Minimally counterintuitive concepts in East Asian religions: A cross cultural comparison. [master’s thesis]. [University of Oxford, Oxford]

  • Kavanagh, C. M. (Blood) rain and (invisible) sandals: A recoding of the counterintuitive properties of roman prodigy tales. The 5th Biennial meeting of the International Association for the Cognitive Study of Religion; 2014 June 2–4, Brno, Czech Republic.

  • Keil, F. C. (2013). The roots of folk biology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 110(40), 1585715908. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1315113110.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kintsch, W. (1970). Models for free recall and recognition. In D. A. Norman (Ed.), Models of human memory. New York: Academic Press.

  • Lisdorf, A. (2004). The spread of non-natural concepts. Journal of Cognition & Culture, Vol. 4, 151173.

  • McDaniel, M. A., Einsten, G. O., DeLosh, E. L., & May, C. P. (1995). The Bizarreness Effect: It’s Not Surprising, It’s Complex. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Vol. 21 (2), 422435.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Montague, P. R. et al. (1996). A framework for mesencephalic dopamine systems based on predictive Hebbian learning. Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 16, 19361947.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nairne, J. S. (2014). Adaptive memory: Controversies and future directions. In B. L. Schwartz, M. L. Howe, M. P. Toglia, & H. Otgaar (Eds.). What is adaptive about adaptive memory? New York: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Norenzayan, A., Atran, S., Faulkner, J., & Schaller, M. (2006). Memory and mystery: The cultural selection of minimally counterintuitive narratives. Cognitive Science, Vol. 30, 531553.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Porubanova, M., Shaw, D. J., McKay, R., & Xygalatas, D. (2014). Memory for Expectation-Violating Concepts: The Effects of Agents and Cultural Familiarity. PLoS ONE 9(4): e90684. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090684.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Porubanova, M., Shaw, D. J., & Xygalatas, D. (2013). Minimal-Counter intuitiveness Revisited: Effects of cultural and ontological violations on concept memorability. Journal of Cognitive Science of Religion, Vol. 1(2), 181.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Proulx, T., & Heine, S. J. (2010). The Frog in Kierkegaard’s Beer: Finding Meaning in the Threat-Compensation Literature. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, Vol. 4, 889905.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Purzycki, B. G., & Willard, A. K. (2015). MCI theory: a critical discussion. Religion, Brain, & Behavior, 142.

  • Pyysiäinen, I., Lindeman, M., & Honkela, T. (2003). Counterintuitiveness as the hallmark of religiosity. Religion, Vol. 33, 341355. doi:10.1016/j.religion.2003.09.001.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reber, R., Perrig, W. J., Flammer, A., & Walther, D. (1994). Levels of Processing and Memory for Emotional Words. Swiss Journal of Psychology, Vol. 53(2), 7885.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sahakyan, L., & Delaney, P. F. (2005). Directed forgetting in incidental learning and recognition testing: Support for a two-factor account. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, Vol. 31, 789801.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schmidt, S. R. (1991). Can we have a distinct theory for memory? Memory & Cognition, Vol. 19, 523542.

  • Schott, B. H., Wüstenberg, T., Wimber, M., Fenker, D. B., Zierhut, K. C., Seidenbecher, C. I., Heinze, H.-J., Walter, H., Düzel, E., & Richardson-Klavehn, A. (2013). The relationship between level of processing and hippocampal – cortical functional connectivity during episodic memory formation in humans. Human Brain Mapping, Vol. 34, 407424. doi:10.1002/hbm.21435.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shannon, C. (1948). A Mathematical Theory of Communication. Bell System Technical Journal, Vol. 27, 379423, 623–656.

  • Smith, R. E., & Hunt, R. R. (2000). The effects of distinctiveness require reinstatement of organization: The importance of intentional memory instructions. Journal of Memory & Language, Vol. 43, 431446.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Spelke, E. S. (2003). “What makes humans smart? Core knowledge and natural language,” in Language in mind, eds. D. Gentner, and S. Goldin-Meadow (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press), 149169.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stangor, C., & Duan, C. (1991). Effects of multiple task demands upon memory for information about social groups. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 27, 357378.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stangor, C., & McMillan, D. (1992). Memory for expectancy-congruent and expectancy-incongruent information: A review of the social and social developmental literatures. Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 111, 4261.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thapar, A., & Greene, R. L. (1994). Effects of level of processing on implicit and explicit tasks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Vol. 20, 671679.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tweney, R. D., Upal, M. A., Gonce, L. O., Slone, D. J., & Edwards, K. (2006). The creative structuring of counterintuitive worlds. Journal of Cognition & Culture, Vol. 6, 34.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Upal, M. A., Gonce, L. O., Tweney, R. D., & Slone, D. J. (2007). Contextualizing counterintuitiveness: How context affects comprehension and memorability of counterintuitive concepts. Cognitive Science, Vol. 31(3), 415439.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • von Restorff, H. (1933). “Über die Wirkung von Bereichsbildungen im Spurenfeld (The effects of field formation in the trace field)”. Psychological Research, Vol. 18 (1), 299342.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Weinstein, Y., Bugg, J. M., & Roediger, H. L., III. (2008). Can the survival recall advantage be explained by basic cognitive processes? Memory & Cognition, Vol. 36, 913919. doi:10.3758/MC.36.5.913.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 133 102 12
Full Text Views 17 13 4
PDF Downloads 10 7 0