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There are three types of encoding. The encoding of words and their meaning is known as semantic encoding    . It was first demonstrated by William Bousfield (1935) in an experiment in which he asked people to memorize words. The 60 words were actually divided into 4 categories of meaning, although the participants did not know this because the words were randomly presented. When they were asked to remember the words, they tended to recall them in categories, showing that they paid attention to the meanings of the words as they learned them.

Visual encoding is the encoding of images, and acoustic encoding    is the encoding of sounds, words in particular. To see how visual encoding works, read over this list of words: car, level, dog, truth, book, value . If you were asked later to recall the words from this list, which ones do you think you’d most likely remember? You would probably have an easier time recalling the words car, dog, and book , and a more difficult time recalling the words level, truth, and value . Why is this? Because you can recall images (mental pictures) more easily than words alone. When you read the words car, dog, and book you created images of these things in your mind. These are concrete, high-imagery words. On the other hand, abstract words like level, truth, and value are low-imagery words. High-imagery words are encoded both visually and semantically (Paivio, 1986), thus building a stronger memory.

Now let’s turn our attention to acoustic encoding. You are driving in your car and a song comes on the radio that you haven’t heard in at least 10 years, but you sing along, recalling every word. In the United States, children often learn the alphabet through song, and they learn the number of days in each month through rhyme: Thirty days hath September, / April, June, and November; / All the rest have thirty-one, / Save February, with twenty-eight days clear, / And twenty-nine each leap year.” These lessons are easy to remember because of acoustic encoding. We encode the sounds the words make. This is one of the reasons why much of what we teach young children is done through song, rhyme, and rhythm.

Which of the three types of encoding do you think would give you the best memory of verbal information? Some years ago, psychologists Fergus Craik and Endel Tulving (1975) conducted a series of experiments to find out. Participants were given words along with questions about them. The questions required the participants to process the words at one of the three levels. The visual processing questions included such things as asking the participants about the font of the letters. The acoustic processing questions asked the participants about the sound or rhyming of the words, and the semantic processing questions asked the participants about the meaning of the words. After participants were presented with the words and questions, they were given an unexpected recall or recognition task.

Words that had been encoded semantically were better remembered than those encoded visually or acoustically. Semantic encoding involves a deeper level of processing than the shallower visual or acoustic encoding. Craik and Tulving concluded that we process verbal information best through semantic encoding, especially if we apply what is called the self-reference effect. The self-reference effect    is the tendency for an individual to have better memory for information that relates to oneself in comparison to material that has less personal relevance (Rogers, Kuiper&Kirker, 1977). Could semantic encoding be beneficial to you as you attempt to memorize the concepts in this chapter?

Questions & Answers

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Josh Reply
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Winson
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Farzan
What is environmental psychology
rohini Reply
Environmental psychology focuses on the interplay between an individual and it's surroundings.
Liviu
what is criminal psychology
Wasana Reply
Criminal psychology, also referred to as criminological psychology, is the study of the wills, thoughts, intentions, and reactions of criminals and all that partakes in the criminal behavior. It is related to the field of criminal anthropology
Me
My Master degree is in Forensic Psychology. It is a science that is half psychology and half criminal justice
Mike
what is environmental psychology?
Doper Reply
if Someone can recommend any Practicing Psychologist Regards
Sajjad Reply
How do you communicated with someone who has a Narcissistic personality, and a womanizer? How do you get them to value your feelings and thoughts
Mrs. Reply
having a narcissistic-person as a partner in life can destroy your relationship especially if they're abusing you mentally.
Bonito
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Mahmoud Reply
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Mahmoud
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Aliza Reply
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Kody Reply
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William Reply
Are you smarter than your teachers? I was. So, I found better ones. Like you are, William.
Candice
You don't have to be smarter than your teachers, at the end they teach what they been told, education system must change and give you the chance to learn things of your interest.
Ivan
William James, principles of psychology, 1890
Cristina Reply
is there any phyical harm or internal harm to the brains
Megharaj Reply
it depends since an accient or trauma can cause amnesia, etc...
nandini
I should choose psychology major because....?
Alexsus Reply
psychology is the study of human behavior and I do think we should talk more on what interests each of us
Captain
psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processing and how they are affected by an organism's physical state,mental state and environment
Macmel
or psychology is a science because it follows the scientific process in studying behaviiur and mental processing .behaviour include overt and covert ones ,mental processing include thought,emotion,perception ,reasoning processes ,memories and biological activities .
Macmel
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Macmel
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Macmel
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Macmel
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Edi Reply
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Abdulaziz Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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