Levels of Processing and the Self-Reference Effect Experiment


The mind works through a consistent process of collecting and restoring data for future use or access. Relatively, this process allows a person to remember matters even when the said ‘events’ or occurrences already happened a long time in the past. In the process of collecting and restoring data, the brain is subjected to a function of information sorting. This process involves the creation of connection between events and the impact that they have on the thinking of the individual. This means that the information is to be sorted based on how much they affect the memory of the individual, the more relation the information has to the being of the person, the more possibility there is that the said information shall be kept as a memory likely to be recalled in the future.

For instance, a person working in a bank would be able to decipher lessons in finance to be important for personal and professional work hence keeping such information in memory. The same data however may not mean as much to a person working in the field of design and interior arrangement hence simply considering such information to pass and not be kept in memory. This instance better defines the self-reference effect, a specific level in the processing of memory undergone by the functions of the human brain.

Grady’s (et al, 2000) work on memory processing based on age indicates that the self-reference effect is one matter that may not be as affected by age as other levels of processing data are. Relatively, this is based on the reason that the self-reference effect is more dependent on who the person is thus making the process more personal. This is further supported by the study of Kelley (et al, 2002) which entails to create an indication that if a memory is connected to the being of the person then it does not go away at once thus retaining its value for a long time.

For the completion of the study to be presented herein, the indication of long time memory and how the self reference effect impacts the value of the information kept for the sake of long time recall system of the brain shall be further explored and discussed deeply. It is expected that through this research, it could be proven that the self-reference effect influences the instance by which specific memories are retained in the human mind for a longer time.


Grady, CL; Craik FIM (2000). “Changes in memory processing with age”. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 10 (2): 224–231.

Kelley, WM; Macrae CN; Wyland CL; Caglar S; Inati S; Heatherton TF (2002). “Finding the self? An event-related MRI study“. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 14 (5): 785–794.