Reference to self, other, and object as levels of processing in recognition memory

Gustavo GauerFederal University of Rio Grande do Sul
Juliana Ávila-SouzaFederal University of Rio Grande do Sul
Guilherme LannigFederal University of Rio Grande do Sul

Abstract

Information related to the self tends to be better remembered than other information. Mentalization (i.e., attributing mind to an external entity) is one potential intervening factor in contrasting myself, others “like me”, and inanimate objects. Twenty-seven undergraduates (mean age 23.6 years, 16 women) responded to a Remember/Know (R/K) recognition task. In the study phase, 78 words were presented at 3 levels of processing: Self (item applies to myself), Other (applies to the Queen of England) and Object (applies to statues). In test trials, subjects recognized items as Old or New. After an "Old" response, an R/K judgment was prompted. We observed significant differences in recognition reaction times (RTs) between Self/Other and Self/Object conditions. R/K judgment RTs showed significant differences between Self/Object conditions. Results support self-reference at a deeper level of processing, but not in a continuum from self to other and to inanimate object.

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Reference to self, other, and object as levels of processing in recognition memory (243 KB)



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