An online paradigm for exploring the self-reference effect
AuthorBentley, SV; Greenaway, KH; Haslam, SA
Source TitlePLoS One
PublisherPUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
University of Melbourne Author/sGreenaway, Katharine
AffiliationMelbourne School of Psychological Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsBentley, S. V., Greenaway, K. H. & Haslam, S. A. (2017). An online paradigm for exploring the self-reference effect. PLOS ONE, 12 (5), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0176611.
Access StatusOpen Access
Open Access at PMChttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5417556
People reliably encode information more effectively when it is related in some way to the self-a phenomenon known as the self-reference effect. This effect has been recognized in psychological research for almost 40 years, and its scope as a tool for investigating the self-concept is still expanding. The self-reference effect has been used within a broad range of psychological research, from cultural to neuroscientific, cognitive to clinical. Traditionally, the self-reference effect has been investigated in a laboratory context, which limits its applicability in non-laboratory samples. This paper introduces an online version of the self-referential encoding paradigm that yields reliable effects in an easy-to-administer procedure. Across four studies (total N = 658), this new online tool reliably replicated the traditional self-reference effect: in all studies self-referentially encoded words were recalled significantly more than semantically encoded words (d = 0.63). Moreover, the effect sizes obtained with this online tool are similar to those obtained in laboratory samples, and are robust to experimental variations in encoding time (Studies 1 and 2) and recall procedure (Studies 3 and 4), and persist independent of primacy and recency effects (all studies).
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