Craik - M EM O RY 2002 10(5/6 305 31 8 Levels of processing...

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Levels of processing: Past, present . . . and future? Fergus I.M. Craik Rotman Research Institute of Baycrest Centre, Toronto, Canada In this article I first briefly survey some enduring legacies of the Craik and Lockhart (1972) article on levels of processing (LOP) and address some common criticisms. In the next section I discuss whether memory can be regarded as ‘‘pure processing’’, the role of short-term memory in an LOP framework, measurement of ‘‘depth’’ in LOP, encoding–retrieval interactions, the concept of consolidation, and the reality of ‘‘levels’’ of processing. In the final section I offer some speculations on future directions, dis- cussing the notion of levels of representation and a possible continuing role for LOP in memory research. To start with some personal history, I spent a stimulating and productive year (1968–69) in the Psychology Department at the University of Toronto, imbibing the wisdom dispensed by Ben Murdock and Endel Tulving, and interacting with a lively group of graduate students and post-docs. The focus of my research was short-term memory, and this broadened out during the year to a con- sideration of encoding and retrieval processes in long-term or secondary memory. When I returned to Birkbeck College in London, I was intrigued and influenced by the work on selective attention being carried out by Donald Broadbent, Anne Treisman, and Neville Moray. In particular, Treisman’s (1964) theory of selective attention combined aspects of previous knowledge with perception and attention; it was an exciting possibility that memory encoding and retrieval processes could also be brought into the mix, in the spirit of Neisser’s (1967) call for an integrated theory of cognitive functions. Treisman (1964, 1979) proposed that percep- tual processing could be envisaged as a hierarchy of ‘‘levels of analysis’’ running from early sensory analyses to later analyses concerned with object properties and identification of words, pictures, and objects. In this scheme, identification and meaning may be regarded as occurring later (and thus in some sense ‘‘deeper’’) in the sequence of analyses than the analysis of sensory and surface features. From contemporary work on dichotic listening it also seemed that such deeper analysis of meaning required more attention than did the analysis of sensory features. Subjects were able to identify a speaker’s voice as male or female on the unattended channel, but were unable to under- stand the meaning of the utterance. It also seemed reasonable to assume that analysis of a particular feature corresponded to conscious awareness of that feature. In order to account for the phenomena of selective attention, Treisman also proposed that incoming information is subjected to a series of ‘‘tests’’ at each level of analysis, and only those dimensions of the incoming signal passing each test proceed to the next level of analysis. The tests are thought of as signal-detection problems,
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2011 for the course PSYC 1101 taught by Professor Mannen during the Spring '11 term at Texas Brownsville.

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Craik - M EM O RY 2002 10(5/6 305 31 8 Levels of processing...

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