What is the concept of depth referring to processing?
The concept of depth when referring to processing has been defined as the meaningfulness of something and how well it is encoded into memory. The idea of depth can be split into shallow (visual and phonemic) and deep (semantic). There have been many different approaches to looking at how memory affects –notably the work of Craik and Lockhart, Morris and Bransford – with the main consensus being that deeper processing leads to better recall. Research into this area is useful as memory affects everyday life and understanding how to optimise it has many useful applications, e.g. when revising for exams. This study aims to investigate how the depth of processing influences memory. The hypothesis is that a deeper level of processing will result in higher recall levels.
An experimental design was used to test this hypothesis, meaning that the effect of changes in the independent variable (the type of processing) on the dependent variable (the number of words recalled) are measured. One confounding variable which could have affected the results of this experiment was the order of words, meaning that some words may have been remembered more as a result of being placed either first or last in the list. This could be controlled for by giving out the lists in different orders, making sure that the decision type is causing differences in retrieval and not the order of words.