Retrieval of internally versus externally generated words in episodic memory

Academic Article


  • The mnemonic value of internal stimulus generation was investigated in a series of experiments. Subjects either decided if an experimenter-generated word fit a specified context, or they generated a word to fit the context. The results indicated that internal generation of stimulus words consistently induced higher levels of memory performance than did the encoding of experimenter-generated words. The generation factor proved to be a potent one as it tended to override the effects of encoding orientation and encoding congruity. It is argued that the greater memorability for subject- over experimenter-generated words is a result of: (1) the personal reference attribute of the generation operation per se as well as its information content, and (2) the considerable effort required to produce an item to fit a specified context. © 1980 Academic Press, Inc.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • McFarland CE; Frey TJ; Rhodes DD
  • Start Page

  • 210
  • End Page

  • 225
  • Volume

  • 19
  • Issue

  • 2