Depth of Processing

5 minutes of activity over 20 minutes time


Get a piece of scrap paper you can write on or open an electronic document.

This activity will take 5 minutes of active work, but over 20 minutes of time. You'll get a break in the middle of it to do whatever else you want to do, but set aside at least 20 minutes to complete this.

1/6 Steps


You will now be shown a video that has 14 words. For each of the words, please write down either P (for Pleasant) or U (for Unpleasant).

After you have finished the video, click on the button below to proceed to the next step.

2/6 Steps


Break forĀ 15: 00 mins

3/6 Steps


How many words could you remember?

Write down all of the words you can remember from the video

4/6 Steps


How many words could you remember?



Enter the number of words that you were able to correctly write down.

5/6 Steps



Half of the visitors participating in this activity were randomized to a group where they were asked if the word was pleasant or unpleasant. To do this task they had to read the word, understand it and then consider what feelings they had about this word. We asked this group to process the word at a deeper level.

The other half was randomized to determining of the word was UPPER or lower case. To do this task, they only had to look at the letters themselves.

The brain required greater processing to determine if it was pleasant/unpleasant compared to upper/lower case. This additional effort results in more durable memory and leads to better learning.