Abstract

The enactment effect is the phenomenon whereby carrying out a simple action phrase results in superior memory compared with listening to the phrase or observing someone else carry out the action. Several early studies suggested that action memory processing is less effortful and strategic compared with traditional verbal processing, a perspective that is still argued today. In the current study, we reexamine a particularly compelling finding in support of this view (Cohen, 1985). Contrary to Cohen’s original findings, we demonstrate that additional time to encode an action phrase leads to comparable gains in recall as seen with controls. These data fit well with a different perspective of action memory, namely that the processing of actions is guided by the same strategic, effortful processing as verbal memory.

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