Creating a visual representation of an item through drawing affords that item a substantive memory benefit, relative to several control tasks. Recent findings demonstrate the robustness of this drawing effect across several stimulus classes, irrespective of encoding time, setting, age group, or memory measure. The advantage for drawn information has been attributed to the integrated contributions of at least three components of visual production through drawing, which can independently facilitate memory: elaborative, motoric, and pictorial. In the current work, we investigated the importance of the elaborative process one must engage in while preparing to draw, and directly tested whether this generative period alone was sufficient to improve memory. Participants were prompted to either draw or write out presented words, and were provided with a 1- or 2-s preparatory period prior to completing the prompted task. Critically, on a subset of the trials, participants were prevented from completing the prompted task. There was strong evidence in support of better memory for drawn items, which replicates the drawing effect commonly observed in prior work. Interestingly, following prompts to draw, there was also a reliable memory benefit of the preparatory period alone. In other words, simply engaging in the elaborative process of preparing to draw (i.e., without completing the drawing) was enough to produce a reliable increase in later memory relative to actually writing.
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 5, 2018