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An analysis and test of the reconstructive-schematic model of memory Creighton, David Joseph


The present study involved a test of the reconstructive-schematic model of memory. This model is presented within the historical context in which it developed, with the emphasis being placed on Piaget's research. The reconstructive-schematic model is analyzed and its two key assumptions concerning the nature of memory and recall are isolated. Thus according to this model: (1) representation is closely linked and dependent upon the nature of perception. The active role of the individual during perception is of critical importance as representation and recall are determined by the individual's analysis of the stimuli, during perception. (2) Memory involves a conservation of "rules" in schematic form and recall is characterized by a reconstructive process in which these rules are used to reconstruct the original stimulus as adequately as possible. To test these two assumptions an incidental learning paradigm involving two different orienting tasks was used. Twelve series of pictures per series comprised the visual stimuli which were employed in this study. Six: groups of seventeen volunteer university students per group were tested. Three groups solved an analogy orienting task while three groups completed a ranking orienting task. In Piagetian terminology, the analogy orienting task was assumed to emphasize the "operative" aspect of cognition while the ranking task emphasized the "figurative" aspect. All six groups were tested for free recall one week after performing the orienting tasks. Two groups (AImm and RImm) were tested for free recall immediately after completing the orienting tasks. Four of the groups (AImm and RImm as well as AWk and RWK, two. groups not tested for immediate free recall) were tested for probed, recall immediately after completing the delayed free recall test. Finally, two groups (ARec and RRec) received a recognition test instead of the probed recall test. To test all predictions that followed from the two major assumptions of the reconstructive-schematic model, it was necessary to conduct two different phases of analysis. The first phase focused on the subjects' performance on the dependent variables: immediate, final free, and probed recall, "clustering", "component clustering", time spend solving orienting task, and recognition. In the second phase, the scores on each dependent variable were collapsed across subjects, resulting in a mean score for each of the seven positions in each of the series. This type of analysis was required to examine the "pattern" or organization of free recall, probed recall, and clustering scores. In both phases, one way analyses of variance were conducted for each dependent variable and each comparison under consideration. The first assumption was supported by the finding that the "pattern" of immediate, final free, and probed recall scores and recognition scores varied with the type of orienting task involved. The second assumption received support from the finding that the "analogy" groups were characterized by greater clustering and probed recall scores and fewer errors during final free recall. However, contrary to predictions, the analogy groups were not characterized by greater free recall.

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