Adaptive Memory: The Mnemonic Value of Animacy

James S. Nairne, Joshua E. VanArsdall, Josefa N.S. Pandeirada, Mindi Cogdill, James Marshall Lebreton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Distinguishing between living (animate) and nonliving (inanimate) things is essential for survival and successful reproduction. Animacy is widely recognized as a foundational dimension, appearing early in development, but its role in remembering is currently unknown. We report two studies suggesting that animacy is a critical mnemonic dimension and is one of the most important item dimensions ultimately controlling retention. Both studies show that animate words are more likely to be recalled than inanimate words, even after the stimulus classes have been equated along other mnemonically relevant dimensions (e.g., imageability and meaningfulness). Mnemonic "tunings" for animacy are easily predicted a priori by a functional-evolutionary analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2099-2105
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Science
Volume24
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

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Reproduction
Mnemonics
Animacy
Retention (Psychology)
Imageability
Meaningfulness
Remembering
Animate
Appearings
Stimulus
Evolutionary
Tuning

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Nairne, J. S., VanArsdall, J. E., Pandeirada, J. N. S., Cogdill, M., & Lebreton, J. M. (2013). Adaptive Memory: The Mnemonic Value of Animacy. Psychological Science, 24(10), 2099-2105. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797613480803
Nairne, James S. ; VanArsdall, Joshua E. ; Pandeirada, Josefa N.S. ; Cogdill, Mindi ; Lebreton, James Marshall. / Adaptive Memory : The Mnemonic Value of Animacy. In: Psychological Science. 2013 ; Vol. 24, No. 10. pp. 2099-2105.
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Nairne, JS, VanArsdall, JE, Pandeirada, JNS, Cogdill, M & Lebreton, JM 2013, 'Adaptive Memory: The Mnemonic Value of Animacy', Psychological Science, vol. 24, no. 10, pp. 2099-2105. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797613480803

Adaptive Memory : The Mnemonic Value of Animacy. / Nairne, James S.; VanArsdall, Joshua E.; Pandeirada, Josefa N.S.; Cogdill, Mindi; Lebreton, James Marshall.

In: Psychological Science, Vol. 24, No. 10, 01.01.2013, p. 2099-2105.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Nairne JS, VanArsdall JE, Pandeirada JNS, Cogdill M, Lebreton JM. Adaptive Memory: The Mnemonic Value of Animacy. Psychological Science. 2013 Jan 1;24(10):2099-2105. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797613480803