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What Is Adaptive about Adaptive Memory?$
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Bennett L. Schwartz, Mark L. Howe, Michael P. Toglia, and Henry Otgaar

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199928057

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199928057.001.0001

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Living, Dying, and Remembering

Living, Dying, and Remembering

The Encoding Processes Involved in Survival Processing

Chapter:
(p.53) 4 Living, Dying, and Remembering
Source:
What Is Adaptive about Adaptive Memory?
Author(s):

Daniel J. Burns

Joshua Hart

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199928057.003.0004

The authors argue that the proximate mechanism responsible for the survival processing retention advantage may be differential processing of item-specific and relational processing. Whereas most control tasks promote one type of processing or the other, the survival task induces both types of processing. The discovery that simply thinking about dying enhances retention of a list of words completely unrelated to the mortality salience manipulation and that this effect is likely the result of differential processing of item-specific information is intriguing. Exploration of this relationship may be helpful in explaining both the proximate and ultimate mechanisms responsible for the memorial benefits associated with survival processing, as well as providing greater insight about the way evolutionary pressures have shaped episodic memory function.

Keywords:   Relational processing, item-specific processing, survival processing, adaptive memory

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