Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Psychology


Cognitive Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 46 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jeanette Altarriba

Committee Members

Jeanette Altarriba, Gordon Gallup


Bilingualism, Item specific Processing, Relational Processing, Survival Memory, Recollection (Psychology), Memory, Recognition (Psychology), Evolutionary psychology, Code switching (Linguistics), Priming (Psychology)

Subject Categories

Cognitive Psychology


The current paper examines the effects of survival processing relative to item specific and relational processing on recall for both English monolinguals and Spanish-English bilinguals. It has been suggested that both item specific and relational processing play an important role in the survival advantage (Burns, Hart, Griffith, & Burns, 2012; Burns, Hwang, & Burns, 2011). However, to date, the generalizability of this advantage has yet to be examined cross-linguistically. In two studies, participants were asked to make survival relevance ratings, pleasantness ratings, and to categorize a set of words from either common taxonomic or ad hoc categories. Spanish-English bilinguals performed this task in either English or in Spanish. All participants were then given a recall and recognition test. Findings are discussed with regards to how different levels of bilingual processing are helpful in determining the proximate mechanisms underlying the survival advantage.