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 selfreferential 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.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Learning and Instruction|
|Early online date||27 Aug 2015|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2015|
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, 54-60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2015.08.001