The generation effect extended: Memory enhancement for generation cues

Anthony G. Greenwald, Mitzi M.S. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The generation effect is the greater memorability of a response that is actively produced (e.g., in answering a question from memory) than one that is more passively produced (as in reading the answer). The present three experiments addressed a question that is critical to the theoretical interpretation of the generation effect: Is memory enhanced for the cues that are used to elicit generated responses? Using incidental learning procedures, Experiments 1 and 2 gave an affirmative answer (although the effect was substantially weaker than the generation effect for responses). Enhancement of memory for generation cues was observed both in a within-subject/within-list design (reading and generation items within the same trial blocks; Experiment 1) and in a between-subjects design (reading and generation tasks for different groups of subjects; Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, memory enhancement for generation cues was used to produce a previously unobtained result-a generation effect for nonsense responses under incidental learning conditions. These findings provide critical evidence required by theories that interpret the generation effect in terms of enhanced processing of the cue-response item.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-681
Number of pages9
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'The generation effect extended: Memory enhancement for generation cues'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this