Searching long-term memory is theoretically driven by both directed (search strategies) and random components. In the current study we conducted four experiments evaluating strategic search in semantic and autobiographical memory. Participants were required to generate either exemplars from the category of animals or the names of their friends for several minutes. Self-reported strategies suggested that participants typically relied on visualization strategies for both tasks and were less likely to rely on ordered strategies (e.g., alphabetic search). When participants were instructed to use particular strategies, the visualization strategy resulted in the highest levels of performance and the most efficient search, whereas ordered strategies resulted in the lowest levels of performance and fairly inefficient search. These results are consistent with the notion that retrieval from long-term memory is driven, in part, by search strategies employed by the individual, and that one particularly efficient strategy is to visualize various situational contexts that one has experienced in the past in order to constrain the search and generate the desired information.
- Strategic search
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)