In incidental learning tasks, subjects generated words from anagrams or incomplete sentences, verified that the words solved the anagrams or fit in the sentences, or evaluated which rule had been used to construct the word from the anagram or sentence. Latencies in responding to a tone during these trials were used as a measure of cognitive effort. The results indicated that, in comparison to verification, the relatively effortless generation of words benefited memory, but the effortful decisions about the rules did not. Clearly, cognitive effort does not always announce better memory.
Psychonomic Society Inc.
Hertel, P.T. (1989). The generation effect: A reflection of cognitive effort? Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 27(6), 541-544. doi: 10.3758/BF03334663
Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society