Survival of the selfish: Contrasting self-referential and survival-based encoding

Sheila J. Cunningham*, Mirjam Brady-Van den Bos, Lucy Gill, David J. Turk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Processing information in the context of personal survival scenarios elicits a memory advantage, relative to other rich encoding conditions such as self-referencing. However, previous research is unable to distinguish between the influence of survival and self-reference because personal survival is a self-referent encoding context. To resolve this issue, participants in the current study processed items in the context of their own survival and a familiar other person's survival, as well as in a semantic context. Recognition memory for the items revealed that personal survival elicited a memory advantage relative to semantic encoding, whereas other-survival did not. These findings reinforce suggestions that the survival effect is closely tied with self-referential encoding, ensuring that fitness information of potential importance to self is successfully retained in memory. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-244
Number of pages8
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

Structured keywords

  • Cognitive Science

Keywords

  • Memory
  • Self
  • Self-reference effect
  • Survival
  • Fitness value
  • ADAPTIVE MEMORY
  • RELEVANT INFORMATION
  • OBJECT OWNERSHIP
  • ATTENTION
  • MINE
  • ADVANTAGE
  • PARADIGM
  • BIASES
  • TASKS

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