Memory is a process that involves the acquiring, encoding, storing, and retrieving of information obtained from the environment. According to the levels of processing theory, proposed by Craik and Loc..
Memory is a process that involves the acquiring, encoding, storing, and retrieving of information obtained from the environment. According to the levels of processing theory, proposed by Craik and Lockhart, the perception of stimuli requires analysis at various cognitive levels (1972). Processing things at greater “depth” involves more cognitive analysis and making connections with already known material. This deeper analysis is associated with longer retention and better performance on memory recall tasks (Craik & Lockhart, 1972). To process the presence of a stimulus, you must first attend to it. According to Mulligan, divided attention results in worse performance on semantic memory recall tasks (1998). This is likely due to the load theory of attention; this theory states that processing capacity, how much information input a person can handle at one time, is limited (Lavie, 2004). The perceptual load, the difficulty of a given task, varies between different actions; high-load tasks, such as reading, use up more cognitive resources than low-load tasks, thereby they use more processing capacity (Lavie, 2004; Stothart et al., 2015). Overall, dividing attention between multiple stimuli prevents individuals from fully focusing on and processing the “to-be-remembered” information, which can be especially harmful in an academic setting. Unfortunately, distractions in the academic environment are nearly impossible to avoid on college campuses with the accessibility of cell phones. A study by Dietz and Henrich concluded that texting during class resulted in significantly worse performance on semantic memory recall and recognition tasks (2014). What many students fail to realize is that these notifications cause distractions far after the *bing* noise stops; cell phone notifications promote task-irrelevant thoughts and prevent students from focusing on the material. Even when students ignored the notification, their performance on semantic memory recall tasks decreased (Stothart et al., 2015). This experiment will test the effect of cell phone notifications at different levels of cognitive processing (deep vs. shallow) on semantic memory recall and recognition. After the level of processing task is complete, a memory recall and recognition task will be given to assess how much the presence (or lack thereof) of a cell phone notification disrupted processing. It is hypothesized that the presence of notifications in both shallow and deep processing will decrease memory performance. However, the presence of notifications during deep processing should have a greater decrease due to the high perceptual load this task requires, which will be interrupted by the cell phone notification.