The Effect of Self-Reference with regard to Memory

Essay by kazcozA-, March 2006

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An experiment was conducted, under laboratory conditions, to investigate if the effect of self-reference enhances the human memory's ability to recall information and to investigate the effect of structural and semantic encoding. The participants were conveniently chosen from a second year class of ACD undergraduate psychology students, with no predetermined conditions. A computer program randomly displayed words, which the participants were asked one of two questions. One question was regarding the physical appearance of the word (structural encoding); the other question was regarding the participant's qualities of their self-image (semantic encoding). The computer program also recorded the participants' response. Response regaurding the abilty of memory were compiled from 6 females and 5 males and reviewed to that there was a statistical significance in the response to the questions which focused on the participants ability for memory recall and whether words were easier to recal if the participant felt that the word described themselves.

The discussion focused on the presence of the participant's ability to remember self-referencing words more efficiently, and the influence of the compounding variables on the experiment. Future research could investigate the self - reference effect in relation to gender.


Memory is the complex mental function of recalling what has been learned or experienced. It is part of the human brain's cognitive process, it is a central part of how we, as humans function. Any act of remembering involves success at three aspects of the memory progression (Dworetzky, 1991).

The first stage of the memory process is acquisition, that is the acquiring the information to be processed. Even though this fact seems obvious in itself, failure at this stage of the memory process is very common, for example if one is given information and attention is not placed on this information it is forgotten at a...