Remembering the Living

James S. Nairne, Joshua E. VanArsdall, Mindi Cogdill
2017 Current Directions in Psychological Science  
Human cognition is sensitive to the distinction between living and nonliving things. Animacy plays a role in language comprehension, reasoning, the organization of knowledge, and perception. Although ignored until recently, animacy significantly influences basic memory processes as well. Recent research has indicated that people remember animate targets better than matched inanimate targets; in fact, an item's animacy status is one of the best predictors of its later recall. Animate processing
more » ... f inanimate stimuli can produce retention advantages, as can animate touching-inanimate objects are remembered better when they are simply touched by animate things. We discuss these recent findings and their implications for the evolution of cognition, the methodology of memory experiments, and educational practice.
doi:10.1177/0963721416667711 fatcat:ytv5hbmodrdczgk77uriguucey