Encoding action phrases by enacting leads normally to better memory performance than verbal encoding. In order to gain additional insight into the representational basis of the enactment effect, neurological patients are contrasted with healthy participants. Persons suffering from Parkinson's disease, which primarily impairs the motor system, and patients suffering from Frontal Lobe Syndrome, which primarily affects action-related planning processes, were involved. We investigated whether the enactment effect would be differentially affected by these disorders. In addition, the characteristics of information processing after encoding by enacting was analyzed by varying memory material (unrelated versus clusterable actions) and by adding an encoding condition that included obligatory action planning (director condition). The findings indicate that the impact of motor information for the enactment effect is not dominant compared to the role of action-related cognitive and motivational processes, in particular planning processes. The findings of the two experiments are explained within traditional conceptual memory theories.
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