Bilingual Episodic Memory Processes

Part of the The Bilingual Mind and Brain Book Series book series (BMBBS)


This chapter reviews some of the major theoretical approaches to encoding (e.g., levels of processing, the generation, distributed-practice, and repetition effects) and retrieval (e.g., encoding specificity principle and transfer appropriate processing) in bilingual episodic memory. An overview of the published findings suggests that, like the classic monolingual general findings, bilingual retrieval is enhanced by such factors as deep processing, elaboration, distinctiveness, and spaced practice repetitions, as opposed to shallow processing and massed repetitions. Moreover, there is a propensity for between-language conditions (i.e., translations) to enhance memory retrieval, relative to within-language conditions (i.e., monolingual conditions), suggesting that translations are more distinctive and require more mental effort and mental elaboration. Bilingual memory retrieval appears to be language-dependent, and retention is enhanced to the extent to which the retrieval contextual properties (i.e., language) and processes (i.e., perceptual vs. semantic) match those employed during the encoding process. Bilingual memory effects are related to existing bilingual models, and methodological and empirical concerns are discussed and underscored.


Bilingual generation effect Bilingual storage Encoding specificity Language-dependent memory Repetition effects 



The authors are grateful to Catherine L. Caldwell-Harris for comments and suggestions on an earlier version of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas A&M International UniversityLaredoUSA

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