Evolution, memory processes, and the survival processing benefit to memory: an examination of the unpredictability hypothesis
Nairne, Thompson, and Pandeirada (2007) found an advantage in recall for items that were earlier rated for their survival utility in a hypothetical grasslands scenario. This pattern has repeatedly been shown, typically when comparing survival utility ratings given using a grassland scenario to those given using a modern city scenario. This advantage has been attributed to a grassland setting being similar to the critical ancestral environment of early humans. However, recent work has found this effect in situations entirely unrelated to ancestral environments (e.g., outer space), suggesting that ...
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