The opportunity to choose enhances long-term episodic memory

Nuphar Rotem-Turchinski, Ayelet Ramaty, Avi Mendelsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Episodic memory is typically studied under conditions that treat participants as passive agents. Here we sought to explore how actively engaging in ongoing naturalistic occurrences affects long-term episodic memory. Participants viewed 40 short movie clips that depicted a protagonist that conversed with the participants. In each clip, they were either offered the chance to (supposedly) determine the clip’s continuation (active condition), or let the computer decide for them (passive condition). Participants returned either two days or one week after the experience to undergo a true/false memory test for the clips’ details and a two-alternative recognition test for the choices made. Memory performance for both groups was superior for information and choices conveyed in the active vs. passive condition. These findings suggest that the sense of actively influencing the unfolding of events is beneficial to long-term memory of the experience at large, baring potential interventions in the fields of education and cognitive enhancement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-440
Number of pages10
JournalMemory
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 21 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Genela Morris for insightful comments and discussions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Episodic memory
  • long-term memory
  • sense of agency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (all)

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