9531739 NOICE This research will investigate long-term retention of complex verbal material and the contribution of accompanying movement to that retention. Research during the last fifteen years that has determined some conditions under which knowledge acquired in school endures for long periods of time has proved useful to educators and curriculum designers. However, that research has concentrated on memory for discrete items such as foreign language vocabulary, and relatively little attention has been given to verbatim retention of complex material. There has been some work examining long-term recall of passages learned verbatim; this research has found that such passages were generally acquired by chaining and, due to the shallow processing involved, when one link in the chain was broken, the rest of the material became unavailable. However, research into professional acting expertise has shown that actors' retention of material is based on extremely deep processing which probes the text at a micro level to extract information about character and motivation. Also, actors necessarily "overlearn" material; this overlearning has been found to be one of the important predictors of long-term storage found in earlier research. Therefore, when material is learned in this manner, it should still be available months after it has ceased being rehearsed or performed. In addition to looking at long-term retention itself, this project will investigate the effects of movement on such retention. A rich body of evidence has shown enhanced recall of words and phrases through enactment, and it has frequently been suggested that this facilitation is due to the existence of motoric codes. However, that research has almost invariably been confined to short words or phrases rather than connected discourse, and the movements involved were usually literal enactments of the verbal material. In contrast, this research will examine the influence of movement on the retenti on of lengthy, complex, verbal material when the movement is not a literal enactment of that material. The prediction is that, many months after the final performance of a role, actors (who will have learned new roles in the interim) will retain a large majority of their lines verbatim and will be able to demonstrate enhanced recall when reenacting the movement patterns. Furthermore, the prediction is that the remembered text will be in exact order, a type of recall that is crucial to many technologically-oriented tasks, such as remembering the various steps essential for proper software operation. ***

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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Michael McCloskey
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Augustana College
Rock Island
United States
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