THE ROLE OF SUBORDINATE ACTIONS IN RECALL OF PLAN SCHEMATA GOAL ACTIONS (MEMORY, SCHEMA THEORY)
A plan schema consists of the goal action of a common everyday activity and subordinate actions that are necessary to achieve the goal. When subjects recall plan schema actions, they recall the goal action and tend not to recall subordinate actions. Two experiments were performed to determine if subordinate actions play a role in memory independent of the subject's ability to report them.;Experiment 1 investigated a possible relationship between the number of subordinate actions in a plan schema and the probability of reporting the goal action. The subjects read one of three versions of a story that described a series of actions performed by one female character in an office, along with stative information about the character's thoughts and feelings. In all three versions of the story the plan schemata goal actions were the same, but there were either one-two, three-four, or five-six subordinate actions that were necessary to achieve the goal. Experiment 1 showed that while the goal actions of the plan schemata were reported significantly more than subordinate actions, and the goal actions were reported at different rates, the number of subordinate actions that came before the goal action had no effect on the probability that the goal action would be reported.;In Experiment 2, the same three versions of the story were presented to the subjects with the stative information deleted. The results replicated Experiment 1. The deletion of the stative information led to a significant increase in the number of goal actions reported.;The failure to find a relationship between the number of subordinate actions in a plan schema and the probability of reporting the goal action indicates that subordinate actions do not play a role in memory when they are not reported by the subject.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 47-02, Section: B, page: 8240.