The results show that the retrieval of implicit memories occurs automatically when the appropriate stimulus is engaged. In this case because the participants involved in deep processing had to look at the list of words, understand their meaning and find a word closer in meaning, this enable them to recollect more words and also at a different pace. If remembering is an automatic process, its however does not requires that an effort is made to ease the recollection of the words.
The results of the experiment are in line with several other research studies carried in previous years (Baddeley, 1992; Larry Jacoby. Yurijo Shimizu, Karen Daniels and Matthews Rhodes, 2015; Hunt and Rawson, 2011).
During the experiment, the participants easily made up words that were not on the list. Especially those in condition 2 – shallow processing and upon observation, it was also clear that some of the words given as example during the instructions were easily added on the list and the participants seemed convinced that they have read them. It was also observed during the experiment that participants involve in condition 1 which was shallow processing, could remember the first few words of the list and were also written down before they could start thinking of others. We could assume that the hippocampus located
in the brain and which also plays a vital role in transferring material from short term memory to long term memory (Eysenck and Keane, 2015) might have been activated. A further study would be needed to confirm this hypothesis.
Although the participants involved in shallow processing found it difficult to recollect the words, we can also argue that those involved in deep processing were also challenged in word recognition even though they had to spend more time in understanding the words. This could be the result of direct forgetting which is triggered by impairing the memory by instructions given such as the “distractor task” (Eysenck and Keane, 2015) which in this case, was counting backwards from 730 in 9.
On the other hand, the frontal lobes first role is to be able to manipulate information in a short space of time. These are also the part of the brain which become active when an information needs to be retrieved according to Fletcher and Henson (2001). One can argue that the distractor stimuli did not allow the frontal lobes to play its vital role and the experiment can be conducted again with an aim to measure the activities of the brain and its components at the time of the study.
Fletcher et al. (1998) carried an experiment during which participants listened to words organised and disorganised semantically and had to be put into categories. The prefrontal cortex which is the part of the brain which enable to group items based on some attributes was activated. It can be argued that the left prefrontal cortex plays a significant role in the short-term and long-term memories which are not based on tasks.
Although the level of significance was achieved in this study, there are few limitations that were noted throughout. Furthermore, at the time of the study, it is assumed that all participants have a healthy memory. Forgetting can be attributed to the weakness of the memory (Eynseck and Keane, 2015), however, motivated forgetting memory can also affect the recollection of words. If there is a word on the list which appears to bring up a traumatic experience to a participant, the latter could purposely make little effort to remember the words on the list. Although, this study gives a very valuable insight in the
level of processing of a memory, the results of such study amongst people affected with brain or traumatic experiences could have been different.