Selfish learning: The impact of self-referential encoding on children's literacy attainment

Turk, D. J., Gillespie-Smith, K., Krigolson, O.E., Havard, C., Conway, M. A. & Cunningham, S.J. (2015). Selfish learning: The impact of self-referential encoding on children's literacy attainment. Learning and Instruction, 40, pp. 54-60. doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2015.08.001

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Abstract

Self-referencing (i.e., thinking about oneself during encoding) can increase attention toward to-be-encoded material, and support memory for information in adults and children. The current inquiry tested an educational application of this ‘self reference effect’ (SRE) on memory. A self-referential modification of literacy tasks (vocabulary spelling) was tested in two experiments. In Experiment 1, seven-to nine-year-old children (N = 47) were asked to learn the spelling of four nonsense words by copying the vocabulary and generating sentences. Half of the children were asked to include themselves as a subject in each sentence. Results showed that children in this self-referent condition produced longer sentences and increased spelling accuracy by more than 20%, relative to those in an other-referent condition. Experiment 2 (N = 32) replicated this pattern in real-word learning. These findings demonstrate the significant potential advantages of utilizing self-referential encoding in the classroom.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Self; Memory; Literacy; Engagement; Attention
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/16793

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