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This experiment investigated the effects of imagery, cognitive style, and gender on prospective and
retrospective memory. One hundred and sixty (160) participants, comprising 80 males (mean age =
22.54 years) and 80 females (mean age = 21.30 years) were randomly selected using the table of
random numbers on a population of 200 third and second year undergraduate students of the
Department of Psychology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The stimulus materials used were Group
Embedded Figures Test (Oltman, Raskin, Herman & Witkin 1971); and Paired Associate words
(Mefoh, 2009). Prospective and retrospective memory were tested using prospective memory test
developed by the researcher and paired associate recall test developed by Mefoh (2009). Imagery
was manipulated by verbal instruction. The experiment used a 2x2x2 factorial design. Multivariate
analysis of variance (MANOVA) was the main statistic used for data analysis. Result of the data
analysis indicated that on prospective and retrospective memory, participants in the imagery
condition differed significantly from others in the non-imagery condition (p<.000). Cognitive style
had no significant effect on both prospective and retrospective memory. Similarly, gender had no
significant effect on both prospective and retrospective memory. There was no interaction effect
between any two or all of the independent variables. The implications of the finding were
highlighted, limitations were stated and suggestions were made for further studies.






Title Page i
Certification Page ii
Dedication iii
Acknowledgment iv
Table of Contents v
List of Tables vii
List of Figures viii
List of Appendices ix
Abstract x
Chapter One
Introduction 1
Statement of Problem 14
Purpose of Study 15
Operational definition of terms 15
Chapter Two
Literature Review 17
Theoretical Review 17
Atkinson-Shiffrin Memory Model 17
Memory-Prediction Theory 20
The Preparatory Attentional and Memory Theory 22
Reflexive-Associative Processes of Prospective Memory 25
Kirton’s Model of Cognitive Style 26
The Quasi-Pictorial Theory of Imagery 27
Empirical Review 30
Effects of Imagery on prospective and retrospective memory 30
Effects of Cognitive Style on prospective and retrospective memory 34
Influence of Gender on prospective and retrospective memory 40
Summary of Literature Review 44
Hypotheses 46
Chapter Three
Method 47
Participants 47
Materials 47
Procedure 48
Design/Statistics 51
Chapter Four
Results 53
Summary of the Findings 56
Chapter Five
Discussion 58
Implications of the Study 61
Limitations of the Study 62
Suggestions for further Studies 63
Summary and Conclusion 63
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E


Human memory performs many important functions. Some of which include storage of
intentions about future plans, goals, activities, and countless thoughts, fantasies, and recollections
about the events of earlier in the day, last week, or years ago. And one may keep wondering how
people manage to remember numerous activities in the past or planned intentions. This probably
resulted to why memory featured prominently in the early years of psychology as a science (Gross,
2010). Today, Psychologists are increasingly interested in everyday memory, rather than studying it
merely as a laboratory phenomenon (Gross, 2010). Blakemore (1988) expresses the fundamental
importance of memory when he stated that without the capacity to remember and to learn or future
intentions, it is difficult to imagine what life would be like, whether it could be called living at all.
Without memory, people would be servants of the moment, with nothing but their innate reflexes to
help them deal with the world. There could be no language, no art, no science, and no culture.
Civilisation itself is the distillation of human memory. The consistency and accuracy of memories is
therefore an achievement, not a mechanical production.
Memory, like learning, is a hypothetical construct denoting three distinguishable but
interrelated processes; Registration (or encoding), Storage, and Retrieval (Gross, 2010). The later
been the process by which stored information is extracted from memory is the main focus in this
research work. Retrieval memory in this research is viewed in two forms, prospective and
retrospective memory. Human minds have two very different type of memory constantly working,
prospective and retrospective memory. Prospective memory refers to remembering to perform an
intended action in the future or simply remembering to remember or as defined by Kvavilashvili,
Ellis, Brandimonte, Einstein, and McDaniel (1996) is remembering to do something at a particular
moment in the future or the timely execution of a previously formed intention. Prospective Memory
is a unique component of episodic memory that refers to one’s ability to independently execute a
prescribed intention in response to an appropriate cue at some point in the future (i.e., “remembering
to remember”)
Real-world prospective memory demands, such as remembering to show up for an
appointment, remembering to take medication, and remembering to give someone a message, are
ubiquitous (Crovitz & Daniel, 1984; Terry, 1988). Various studies have reported that 50-80% of all
everyday memories are, at least in part, related to prospective memory (Kliegel & Martin, 2010).
Prospective Memory is crucial for normal functioning since people form future intentions and
remembers to carry out past intentions on daily basis. Numerous aspects of daily life require
prospective memory, ranging from ordinary activities such as remembering where to meet a friend,
to more important tasks such as remembering what time to take medication. To capture this aspect of
prospective memory, typical laboratory paradigms of prospective memory involve asking
participants to press a special key on the keyboard when a particular target word is encountered in
the course of performing some ongoing activity (Einstein & McDaniel, 1990; Einstein, Brandimonte
& McDaniel 1995).
Hence, determining the process or processes that underlie prospective remembering (i.e., the
conscious realization of an intention) has been at the centre of vigorous research in the field (Einstein
& McDaniel, 2005; Guynn, 2003; McDaniel & Einstein, 2007a; McDaniel, Guynn, Einstein, &
Breneiser, 2004; Smith, 2003; Smith, Hunt, McVay, & McConnell, 2007). In standard laboratory
instantiations of prospective memory tasks, people are engaged in a cognitive activity. To examine
the processes that support prospective remembering, previous research has often examined whether
the presence of a prospective memory task slows overall responding on an ongoing task.
Correlations of prospective memory measures with other cognitive variables have been
reported in a number of studies. For example, significant relations with prospective memory
variables have been reported with measures of verbal memory (e.g., Cherry, Martin, Simmons-
D’Gerolamo, Piknston, Friffing & Gouvier, 2001; Graf, Uttl, & Dixon, 2002; Groot, Wilson, Evans,
& Watson, 2002; Huppert, Johnson & Nickson, , 2000; Reese & Cherry, 2002; Uttl, Graf, Miller, &
Tuokko, 2001), working memory (e.g., Cherry & LeCompte, 1999; Reese & Cherry, 2002; West &
Craik, 2001), processing speed (e.g., Graf, et al., 2002; Groot, et al., 2002; Martin & Schumann-
Hengsteler, 2001; Maylor, 1996, also Maylor 1993; Uttl, et al., 2001), non-verbal reasoning
(Cockburn & Smith, 1991; Groot, et al., 2002; Maylor, 1996), and vocabulary (e.g., Cherry &
LeCompte,1999; Reese & Cherry, 2002).
Real-world prospective memory tasks often require that people remember to perform an
action while they are busily absorbed by another task. This is why researchers like Winograd (1988)
have maintained that prospective memory is memory for future intentions, or remembering to
remember. Therefore, Prospective memory can be further broken down into event- and time-based
prospective remembering. Time-based prospective memories are triggered by a time-cue, such as
going to the doctor (action) at 4 pm (cue). Event-based prospective memories are intentions triggered
by cues, such as remembering to post a letter (action) after seeing a mailbox (cue). Cues do not need
to be related to the action (as the mailbox/letter example), and lists, sticky-notes, knotted
handkerchiefs, or string around the finger all exemplify cues that people use as strategies to enhance
prospective memory.
Prospective memory has emerged as an important cognitive construct and one that is
essential to everyday functioning. While successful Prospective memory depends partly on the
integrity of the posterior parietal and medial temporal lobes and Retrospective memory (e.g., Adda,
Castro, Além-Mare Silva, de Manreza, & Kashiara, 2008), it is mostly dependent upon frontal
systems and executive functions, including planning, cognitive flexibility, strategic monitoring, and
self-initiated retrieval processes (e.g., McDaniel, Glisky, Rubin, Guynn, & Routhieaux, 1999).
Prospective memory situations involve forming intentions and then realizing those intentions at some
appropriate time in the future. An interesting feature of most prospective remembering is that
recollection of the intended action occurs without an explicit request to attempt retrieval, and two
views on how this type of remembering can be accomplished were presented. One could strategically
monitor the environment for the presence of the target event, or one could rely on anticipated
environmental conditions more or less automatically reinstating the intended action. Prospective
memory failures can therefore occur either because the person fails to initiate a recognition check
(i.e., fail to monitor) or because the recognition check fails to identify the event as a target.
The efficiency of human retrospective memory is astounding. Retrospective memory
refers to memory of people, words, and events encountered or experienced in the past or a kind of
memory about things that had happened. It includes all other types of memory including episodic,
semantic and procedural (Baddeley, Eysenck, & Anderson, 2009). Retrospective memory involves
memories of almost everything people have done or achieved in the past. Every other type of
memory such as declarative and semantic are involved in the process and can also be explicit or
implicit. An important reason for examining retrospective memory could be to determine how well
individuals are capable of accessing past events in life. And as stated by Nash, Brittany, Gene and
Gregory, (2013) students with poor retrospective memory abilities will likely have difficulties
learning and retrieving information in educational contexts leading to poor exam scores. This goes to
all humans in terms of remembering past experiences.
According to Lahey (2003), if people are to benefit from their experiences, they must be
able to remember them. And remembering what individuals experienced is as important as having
the experience in the first place. Retrospective memory often involves a preliminary stage in which
the rememberer forms a more refined description of the characteristics of the episode to be
remembered (Burgess & Shallice 1996; Norman & Schacter 1996). Retrospective memory hence
refers to the subsequent re-accessing of events or information from the past, which have been
previously encoded and stored in the brain. In fact, in common parlance it is known as remembering.
During retrospective memory activities, the brain “replays” a pattern of neural activity that was
originally generated in response to a particular event, echoing the brain’s perception of the real event.
Retrospective memory therefore means recognizing, recalling, reconstructing; that is remembering
what had been previously stored. If the material is not properly stored adequately, then it cannot be
recalled later (Feldman 2005). Baddeley (1986) suggested that retrospective memory depends on the
speed of a covert verbal rehearsal process. But Cowan, Keller, Hulme, Roodenrys, McDougall and
Rack (1994), have argued it may but that retrospective remembering also depends on the speed of
some sort of short term memory process.
As conceived of by Tulving (1987), episodic retrospective memory represents events in our
personal biographic history. It involves conscious recollection of these episodes (for example, when
one was getting married), and it is typically evaluated by means of learning a list of words or a series
of figures. Employing a novel task that prevented the planning of more than one saccade in advance,
McCarley, Wang, Kramer, Irwin, & Peterson, (2003) measured the contribution of retrospective
memory to visual search when the use of prospective memory was prevented. While D’Argembeau
and van der Linden (2004) found that remembered past events were associated with richer and more
vivid sensory and contextual details than were imagined future events, consistent with previous
observations concerning phenomenological qualities of remembered versus imagined events
(Johnson, Foley, Suengas, & Raye, 1988). Importantly, however, they also reported several notable
commonalities between remembering the past and imagining the future. When compared with
negative events, positive events were associated with subjective ratings of greater re-experiencing for
past events and greater pre-experiencing for future events.
Burgess and Shallice (1997) described studies where patients had impaired prospective
memory, but intact retrospective memory, and also studies where the impaired retrospective memory
caused an impact on prospective memory. Whereas a double dissociation for the two has not been
found, therefore concluding they are not independent entities. The role of retrospective memory in
prospective memory is suggested to be minimal, and takes the form of the information required to
make plans. According to Einstein and McDaniel (1990) the retrospective memory component of the
prospective remembering task refers to the ability to retain the basic information about action and
context. An example used in the reviews explains this in the following scenario: “You are intending
to mail a letter on your way home tomorrow evening, at the mailbox that you have used before” The
basic information of the retrieval context includes time, location and objects, which in combination
form the required retrieval context. Each individual representation required is a form of retrospective
memory (Burgess & Shallice, 1997). Despite all the research this issue is still debatable within the
scientific community.
Despite the findings of some researchers, there is available evidence by researchers like
Kliegel, McDaniel, and Einstein, (2000); Kvavilashvili, (1987); and Maylor, (1990) which suggests
that there is no relationship between prospective and retrospective memory abilities. This is why one
challenge for researchers in this area has been to determine the characteristics that distinguish
prospective memory tasks from much more extensively studied direct retrospective memory tasks
like recall and recognition, because prospective memory is a complex activity that involves many
components (Dobbs & Reeves, 1996; Ellis, 1996). A major difference between the two types of
memory is the fact that retrospective memory often needs a stimulus in order for people to remember
while prospective memory does not necessarily require such stimuli. Similarly, another way to
distinguish different memory functions is whether the content to be remembered is in the past,
retrospective memory, or whether the content is to be remembered in the future, prospective
memory. Also, one critical difference between event-based prospective memory tasks and typically
studied retrospective memory tasks (e.g., cued recall) exists at retrieval. On explicit tests of
retrospective memory, experimenters prompt participants to recall or recognize a number of target
items. By alerting participants to remember, experimenters put participants in a retrieval mode
(Tulving, 1983) that engages them in a search of memory for previously studied target items. Yet, in
tests of event-based prospective memory, participants are instructed to perform an ongoing activity,
and also on some target event (e.g., a cue word), they must interrupt performance of the ongoing task
to execute an intended action. And by this, participants are not prompted to initiate a search of
memory when the target item appears.
Thus, Prospective Memory is hypothesized to place more demands on self-initiated
monitoring and retrieval processes as compared to Retrospective Memory (e.g., McDaniel &
Einstein, 2007). In fact, Prospective Memory is dissociable from Retrospective Memory at the neural
(e.g., Simons, 2006; Woods, 2006), cognitive (e.g., Salthouse, 2004), and functional (e.g., Woods,
2008a) levels and is posited to play a critical role in everyday functioning, making it a construct of
considerable clinical importance to the neuropsychology of Personal disorganization. According to
Burgess and Shallice (1997), there are several other dimensions on which prospective and
retrospective memory tasks differed. For example, in laboratory investigations of direct retrospective
memory, there is a request that the person attempt to recollect prior episodes (i.e. instructions
explicitly tell the subject to try to recall or recognize previously presented material). But in Tulving’s
(1983) terminology on direct retrospective tasks, the rememberer is directed to be in a retrieval mode
and direct retrospective memory as studied in the laboratory is activated by a direct request to
remember (Ebbinghaus, 1964). While in contrast, for prospective memory tasks, both laboratory and
everyday settings, there is rarely a request for a memory search; instead recollection of the intended
action at the appropriate instance somehow occurs without some agent stimulating retrieval (Einstein
and McDaniel, 1996; McDaniel, 1995). Indeed, this core component of prospective memory has
made laboratory study of prospective memory somewhat challenging, (Einstein and McDaniel, 1990;
Harris, 1984; Kvavilashvili, 1987). Thus, in a prospective memory task, attention somehow needs to
be switched from the ongoing task to thinking about the intended action and performing it. Although
studied only recently, Prospective memory may be more important for many aspects of everyday
functioning and the ability to live independently than retrospective memory, which concerns
information or events from the past. The present study explores a timely issue in the field of
Prospective and retrospective memory—namely, the degree to which imagery, cognitive style, and
gender affect people’s prospective retrospective memory performances.
People often rely on external events (imagery for instance) to cue their intentions in the
future (Gene, Justin, Thadeus & Richard, 2011). Therefore, the label prospective memory which is
intentions for future actions is a critical component of human behaviour that can positively be
associated to imagery. Thus, Prospective memory research is still in its early stages with most of the
literature in the area dedicated to exploring cue detection (imagery) and intention retrieval processes
(Gene, Justin, Thadeus & Richard, 2011). Encoding processes are necessary for successful retrieval
of future actions, however, they have been somewhat neglected in the experimental record
(McDaniel & Einstein, 2007). Recent research in implementation intentions underscores the
importance of investigating encoding, imagery and planning prospective memories (Cohen &
Gollwitzer, 2008). The present study is targeted at investigating the effect of imagery encoding, in
prospective memory intentions and retrospective memory. Furthermore, the study argues for a
contextual association account of the beneficial role of imagery in encoding and retrieval of
prospective/retrospective memories. In standard event-based prospective memory tasks, participants
are given an intention to respond to some environmental cue. These cues later occur in the context of
an unrelated task (Einstein & McDaniel, 2005; Marsh & Hicks, 1998). For example, participants in a
typical prospective memory experiment will form a standard encoding intention to make a special
response if they encounter target words in the context of a prose passage. Although recently,
researchers have developed several other encoding strategies to facilitate participants’ ability to
respond to prospective memory cues. Forming an implementation intention, for example, increases
prospective memory performance. Participants form implementation intentions by verbalizing their
intention at encoding (e.g., participants state ‘‘when I see an animal word, I will make a special
response’’; McDaniel, Howard, & Butler, 2008).
Moreover, imagery encoding (e.g., participants viewing in video same images that are read
in a standard prose text) has been paired with implementation intentions in some cases with the
findings being mixed as to whether there are any additional benefits to prospective memory
performance arising from imagery. Cohen and Gollwitzer (2008) have proposed that imagery is not a
vital component of implementation intentions. In line with this notion, McDaniel et al. (2008)
reported that imagery encoding alone did not increase prospective memory performance above that
of standard encoding. However, Meeks and Marsh (2010) found that imagery encoding does produce
benefits in prospective memory performance above that is found in typical encoding conditions for
nonspecific cues (e.g., just reading a prose passage). Thus, the specific role of imagery in encoding
prospective memories remains an open topic for prospective memory researchers to explore (Gene,
Justin, Thadeus & Richard, 2011).
Based on many demonstrations of the beneficial effects of imagery encoding on
retrospective memory (e.g., Paivio, 1969), it stands to reason that using this strategy to plan the
future can have a variety of benefits for prospective memory. Therefore, the current study focused
solely on comparing imagery encoding strategies with non-imagery encoding strategies. Using
mental imagery to visualize fulfilling intentions corresponds with recent research examining episodic
future simulation in which participants rely on episodic memory to imagine future contexts.
At encoding, when participants have additional episodic information about the contexts in
which prospective memory cues may occur, they successfully respond to more of the cues. As
expected, participants in each condition had differential prospective memory performance where
participants in the low specificity group responded to few cues and participants in the high
specificity group responded to many cues. Although open to debate, imagery encoding paired with a
verbalized implementation intention potentially allowed participants in the high specificity condition
to create stronger cue-to-prospective or retrospective memory performance.
Therefore, to the degree that using an imagery encoding strategy depends on episodic memory
simulation there may be a benefit to prospective memory performance.
Considering the aforementioned research, findings are mixed as to whether imagery encoding can
facilitate prospective remembering with more recent evidence suggesting a beneficial role of imagery
encoding of prospective memories (Meeks & Marsh, 2010; McDaniel et al., 2008). If imagery is
beneficial, how does it facilitate encoding prospective memories? Perhaps imagery fosters a cue-tocontext
association. By this logic, imagery would also reduce interference to temporarily irrelevant
intention-related material (i.e., a lure) that occurs outside of the expected context. Whenever a
prospective or retrospective memory cue is processed, successful intention completion is dependent
upon a microstructure of separate cognitive processes. There are at least four component processes of
the microstructure of prospective memory performance: recognition of the cue, verification of the
appropriateness of the cue, retrieval of the target action, and coordination of the target response with
ongoing task demands (Loft & Yeo, 2007; Marsh, Hicks, Cook, Hansen, & Pallos, 2003; Marsh,
Hicks, & Watson, 2002).
Cognitive style historically has referred to a psychological dimension representing
consistencies in an individual’s manner of cognitive functioning, particularly with respect to
acquiring and processing information (Ausburn & Ausburn, 1978). Messick (1976) defined cognitive
styles as stable attitudes, preferences, or habitual strategies that determine individuals’ modes of
perceiving, remembering, thinking, and problem solving. While Witkin, Moore, Goodenough, and
Cox (1977) characterized cognitive styles as individual differences in the way people perceive, think,
solve problems, learn, and relate to others.
Cognitive style or “thinking style” is a term used in cognitive psychology to describe the way
individuals think, perceive and remember information. This is why according to Riding and Cheema
(1995), Cognitive style is a person’s typical or habitual mode of problem solving, thinking,
perceiving and remembering. In addition, Ozioko (1990) reported that cognitive style refers to the
consistent way an individual looks at, evaluates and responds to a variety of situations; and that it is
also the characteristic self-consistent modes of functioning found pervasively throughout an
individual’s perceptual and intellectual activities. Hence, according to Amazue (2006) people differ
in the way in which they approach situations, what they look for in them, and how they plan their
Cognitive style was however popularised by Witkin, Dyk, Faterson, Goodenough and Karp
(1962). According to these authors, individuals adopt different perceptual approaches in solving
problems. Some people’s perception is strongly dominated by the prevailing field (environment), and
this mode of perception they designated “field-dependent”, while others perceive items as more or
less separate from the surrounding field, and they design this mode of perception, “fieldindependent”.
These two dimensions of cognitive style were conceptualised as part of a characteristic
of individual differences in processing and organization of social and cognitive information. One of
the most consistent works on cognitive styles regarding field independence/dependence was
developed by Herman Witkin and his collaborators (Lemes, 1998). The results of the Witkin’s
experiments revealed that the individual differences observed could be defined by the level of
dependence that the subject had of the structure of his visual field. Also, According to Bariani
(1998), the cognitive styles can be understood as relatively stable ways with respect to the
characteristics of the cognitive structure of a person, who are defined in part by biological factors or
by culture and are modified from the direct or indirect influence of new events. Therefore, cognitive
style on the one hand can facilitate or improve or inhibit optimal performance of a task (Riding &
Rayner, 1998).
Until recently field independence-dependence has been considered a personality construct that
reflected the style or manner in which learning occurred but did not influence the efficiency or
accuracy of the performance that resulted (Cochran & Davis, 1987; Goodenough, 1976; Witkin,
1978). However, there is an expanding body of research indicating that field-independent (FI) and
field-dependent (FD) individuals differ with respect to fundamental cognitive components that can
lead to differentiated performance on certain tasks. Results of these studies suggested that fieldindependent
individuals demonstrated a more accurate recall of factual information from texts (Spiro
& Tirre, 1980) and lectures (Frank, 1984). The cognitive styles of field-dependence (FD) and fieldindependence
(FI) are, for example, measured non-verbally by the Group Embedded Figures Test
(GEFT) designed by Oltman, Raskin, Herman and Witkin (1971). It measures the degree to which
humans employ “an analytical as opposed to a global way of experiencing the environment” (Keefe,
1979, p.9).
According to Lemes (1998, p.8), “the so-called Cognitive Styles, as constructs developed to
describe perceptual traits of individuals, have their origins in studies of human cognition in the
differential perspective”, which can be defined as a field of psychology that has fundamental
objectives the study of human behaviour, understanding the mental processes and the search for
causes and consequences. Centring on the seminal work of Ericsson & Simon (1984), psychologists
have been profiting from the investigation of linguistic representations of cognitive processes – such
as thinking-aloud protocols and retrospective verbal reports – for at least a century. Our memory
system allows us to perform a number of important and routine tasks daily. Cognitive style differs
from cognitive ability (or level), the latter being measured by aptitude tests or so-called intelligence
Controversy exists over the exact meaning of the term cognitive style and also as to whether it is a
single or multiple dimension of human personality. However, it remains a key concept in the areas of
education and management. Both Klein (1951) and Witkin, Dyke, Faterson, Goodenough and Karp
(1962) viewed cognitive styles as patterns or modes of adjustment to the world that appear to be
equally useful but rely on different cognitive strategies and can result in different perceptions of the
world. If a pupil has a cognitive style that is similar to that of his/her teacher, the chances that the
pupil will have a more positive learning experience are improved. Likewise, team members with
similar cognitive styles would likely feel more positive about their participation with the team. While
matching cognitive styles may make participants feel more comfortable when working with one
another, this alone cannot guarantee the success of the outcome.
One other variable of primary interest in this study is gender. Gender refers to the learned
characteristics and behaviours associated with biological sex in a particular culture (Olson &
Defrain, 2006). Or in other words, as the entire standards of behaviour that differentiate males from
females in a given culture. The nature of the variable has led to the question. In what ways are males
and females really different or similar in memory (prospective/retrospective) performances?
Therefore, despite that gender-related differences have generated a great deal of controversy; when
and why they appear, their magnitude, and their consequences (Halpern, 2000), it is noteworthy that
assessment of gender differences is of great importance in cognitive functioning and imagery
perception. Earlier on, Moir and Jessel (1989) argued that men and women are different
psychologically because their brains are different. There is no doubt of earlier documentation of
patterns/differences of male versus female responses in memory functions during experiment is
documented. For example, Hyde and Linn (1988) analyzed several studies in which the detection of
gender differences was of primary interest, and found no evidence of substantial gender differences
in verbal ability. However, related studies (e.g., Lynn & Irwing, 2002) have revealed that the
magnitude of the effect of gender on general knowledge ability provides strong evidence that male
have a larger advantage on semantic memory. And according to Mefoh (2006), opinions are still
changing, even when gender differences in average cognitive performance are small, the implications
of that difference can be considerable. The present study attempts to clarify the issue of whether
there is any advantage one gender has over another on the effectiveness of imagery and/ or cognitive
style on prospective/retrospective memory.
Considerable research has examined the association between gender-atypical behaviours in
childhood and androphilia in adult males (e.g., for reviews, see Bailey & Zucker, 1995). In a
comprehensive meta-analytic review, Bailey and Zucker (1995) reported that data from prospective
and retrospective studies provided strong evidence that androphilic males display significantly more
gender-atypical behaviour in childhood than do gynephilic males. For instance, Linn and Hyde
(1989) analysed various studies on gender differences in verbal, spatial, quantitative and scientific
reasoning skills and concluded that the majority of gender differences in memory performances are
small and have become less pronounced in recent years.
Statement of the problem
Based on many demonstrations of the beneficial effects of imagery encoding on retrospective
memory (e.g., Paivio, 1969), it stands to reason that using this strategy to plan the future can have a variety of
benefits for prospective memory. An expanding body of research has indicated that field-independent (FI) and
field-dependent (FD) individuals differ with respect to fundamental cognitive components that can lead to
differentiated performance on certain tasks. Results of studies on these suggested that field-independent
individuals demonstrated a more accurate recall of factual information from texts (Spiro & Tirre, 1980) and
lectures (Frank, 1984). Related studies (e.g., Lynn & Irwing, 2002) have revealed that the magnitude
of the effect of gender on general knowledge ability provides strong evidence that male have a larger
advantage on semantic memory. According to Mefoh (2006), opinions are still changing, even when
gender differences in average cognitive performance are small, the implications of that difference
can be considerable. Therefore, this study will address the problem of prospective and retrospective memory
using imagery and cognitive style.
The problems examined in this study are:
1. Would participants in the imagery condition remember more intended actions (prospective
memory) than participants in the non-imagery condition?
2. Would participants in the imagery condition recall more past actions (retrospective memory)
than participants in the non-imagery condition?
3. Would participants who use field-independent cognitive style remember more intended action
(prospective memory) than participants who use field-dependent cognitive style?
4. Would participants who use field-independent cognitive style recall more past actions
(retrospective memory) than those who use the field-dependent cognitive style?
5. Would there be a significant difference between males and females on remembering to do an
intended action (prospective memory)?
6. Would there be a significant difference between males and females on recalling past action
(retrospective memory)?
Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to:
1. Examine whether imagery will enhance prospective/retrospective memory performances.
2. Investigate whether cognitive style will determine people’s prospective/retrospective memory
3. Determine if gender will influence people’s prospective/retrospective memory performances.
Operational definition of terms
Imagery in this study refers to imaging process which arises from stored information as manipulated
in this study by verbal instruction.
Cognitive style
This refers to a person’s style of processing information which can either be field-independent or
field-dependent as measured using Group Embedded Figure Test (GEFT) (Oltman, Raskin, Herman
& Witkin 1971).
Gender is the attribute of being male or female as indicated by the participants.
Prospective Memory
This means one’s ability to remember to do intended/future planned actions as measured in this study
using prospective memory test.
Retrospective Memory
This refers to the ability to access stored information out of memory as measured in this study using
paired associate recall test (Mefoh, 20009).