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The Generation Effect

Generation Effect on Memory
Words generated from anagrams seem to be remembered better than words that have simply been read (MacLeod & Daniels, 2000). Over 100 years ago, Ebbinghaus described two ways of remembering, voluntary and involuntary recollection. Ebbinghaus’ studies brought about two classes of memory tests. Indirect tests which reveal things in our memory that we are unaware of. Direct tests reveal things that we consciously tap our memories in order to find, looking for references in an article that we wish to find, for example. MacLeod and Daniels (2000) used the direct testing approach to conduct an experiment on directed forgetting and the generation effect. Subjects participating in the MacLeod and Daniels study were asked to read 20 words and generated 20 others from definitions during a 40-item study phase. It was found that the words that were generated were harder to forget than the words that were just read.
Many people have wondered why they are able to score higher on tests when they use memory association for answers to questions rather than simply reading the answers. The generation effect may be the answer. The hypothesis



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