Dying scenarios improve recall as much as survival scenarios.

TitleDying scenarios improve recall as much as survival scenarios.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBurns DJ, Hart J, Kramer ME
JournalMemory (Hove, England)
Date Published2014 Jan

Merely contemplating one's death improves retention for entirely unrelated material learned subsequently. This "dying to remember" effect seems conceptually related to the survival processing effect, whereby processing items for their relevance to being stranded in the grasslands leads to recall superior to that of other deep processing control conditions. The present experiments directly compared survival processing scenarios with "death processing" scenarios. Results showed that when the survival and dying scenarios are closely matched on key dimensions, and possible congruency effects are controlled, the dying and survival scenarios produced equivalently high recall levels. We conclude that the available evidence (cf. Bell, Roer, & Buchner, 2013; Klein, 2012), while not definitive, is consistent with the possibility of overlapping mechanisms.

Alternate JournalMemory