Developmental aspects of the generation effect

Academic Article


  • Children from Grades 2, 3, 5, and 7 (7.6, 9, 11, and 13 years of age, respectively) were required to generate or study exemplars of semantic categories (semantic orientation) or rhymes to stimulus words (phonetic orientation). Each child then participated in one of three retention tests: free recall, standard recognition, and rhyme recognition. The results indicated that the developmental emergence of the "generation effect" (C. E. McFarland, Jr., T. J. Frey, & D. D. Rhodes, Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1980, 19, 210-225; N. J. Slamecka & P. Graf, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 1978, 4, 592-604) was dependent on both encoding orientation and the type of retention task employed. A substantial generation effect first emerged (7-year-olds) for standard recognition in the semantic condition. A similar effect for recall was evident for 9-year olds, but not for younger children. Internal stimulus generation became a strong memory facilitator for phonetically encoded items at age 11 for standard recognition, but not until age 13 for recall. The results of the rhyme recognition test indicated that internal generation facilitated "transfer-appropriate processing" (C. D. Morris, J. D. Bransford, & J. J. Franks, Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1977, 16, 519-533) only for seventh graders (age 13). The processes underlying this developmental pattern were discussed. © 1983.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • McFarland CE; Duncan E; Bruno JM
  • Start Page

  • 413
  • End Page

  • 428
  • Volume

  • 36
  • Issue

  • 3