Name processing model and so on. This
Nameof the experimentAdaptive memory; tostudy that memory systems have evolved to help retain information related tosurvival-fitness.IntroductionMemory is one ofthe intriguing topics to study in cognitive psychology; it is something we relyon for our daily activities i.e.
we use memory remember/recollect informationrelevant to our day to day activities.Whereas thereare traditional approaches to study memory by conducting researches on theframework of levels of processing model and so on. This study has tried toinvestigate factors of memory from an evolutionary point of view. According tothe adaptive memory concept, memory systems are tuned to retain informationhaving survival fitness value. A crucial feature of adaptive memory is that thenotion memory has evolved (over the period of time) to increase survival bybetter retaining information having fitness value. In the recent years, James SNairne-et-al.
research on adaptive memory has interested a lot of otherresearchers of evolutionary psychology to study this topic. Nairne andcolleagues conducted a series of experiment to test the phenomenon of adaptivememory. Central to the schoolof thought in human memory research is the assumption that human memory systemsare functionally designed and like other biological systems, memory is likelyevolved to enhance fitness (survival and reproduction). Thinking about the relevance of information tosurvival situation produces excellent long-term retention.
A few seconds ofsurvival processing produces better free recall than virtually all other knownmemory-enhancement techniques. Memory is essential to adaptive behavior because itallows past experience to guide choices. In theexperiment conducted by Narine-et-al., participants are asked to imagine thatthey’re a part of a small tribe living in grassland of a foreign land.
They’reasked to gather or hunt food items in order to help their and their tribes’ survival.Next a list of words are presented, and participants are asked to rate therelevance of each word to the imagined scenario. In a later surprise memorytest, participants typically remember the words rated for relevance to thisfitness-relevant scenario better than they remember words that are not fitnessrelevant (to the scenario).This can be explained through the theory of naturalselection. Human memory is evolved because it enhanced survival and fitness inenvironments that were present during the extended period of human evolution. Anderson & Schooler (1991, 2000) suggested thatcertain mnemonic characteristics, such as the general form of the retentionfunction, mimic the way events tend to occur and recur in the environment.It has been suggested thatsex differences in spatial abilities, including memory for object locations,may have an evolutionary basis. Silverman & Eals (1992) suggested that thedivision of labour typically found in hunter-gatherer societies-men hunt andwomen gather-may have led to unique foraging-related cognitive specializationsof the sexes.
Men generally outperform women on tasks thought to berelated to hunting skills (e.g. navigation and orientation), whereas womenoften show an advantage on tasks requiring memory for objects stored in fixedlocales.The experimentconducted is based on the study done by Narine-et-al. (2009), here theparticipants are randomly divided into three groups; hunter, gatherer andscavenger. Participants in the experiments were asked to rate the relevance ofwords to scenarios that were specifically designed to mimic prototypicalhunting and gathering activities. Following the rating task, participantsreceived a surprise recall test on the rated words.
Participants always ratedthe relevance of the target words to hunting or to gathering food, but underconditions that were either fitness relevant or not. The purpose of this studywas to learn whether or not memory systems have evolved to better retaininformation related to fitness-survival value. Rationale:According to past studies(Narine, Klein, Cosmides, Tooby & Chance,2002) suggest that human memorysystems are “tuned” to remember information that is processed in terms offitness value. Hence it is predicted that when a person is asked to rate therelevance of words to a survival scenario the performance is better on recallscores.