Foundations Of Cognitive Science

Elaborative Rehearsal

Elaborative rehearsal is a type of rehearsal proposed by Craik and Lockhart (1972) in their Levels of Processing model of memory. In contrast to maintenance rehearsal, which involves simple rote repetition, elaborative rehearsal involves deep sematic processing of a to-be-remembered item resulting in the production of durable memories.

For example, if you were presented with a list of digits for later recall (4920975), grouping the digits together to form a phone number transforms the stimuli from a meaningless string of digits to something that has meaning.

Elaborative rehearsal, in a general sense, is key to most mnemonic approaches (Lorayne, 1985, 1998; Luria, 1987; Yates, 1966). For instance, when the method of loci is adopted, one associates new information with a well-learned set of "places". This is obviously a form of elaborative rehearsal, in the sense that linking the new with the old is essentially semantic in nature.


  1. Craik, F.I.M., & Lockhart, R.S. (1972). Levels of processing. A framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behaviour, 11, 671-684.
  2. Lorayne, H. (1985). Harry Lorayne's Page-A-Minute Memory Book. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  3. Lorayne, H. (1998). How To Develop A Super Power Memory. Hollywood, FL: Lifetime Books.
  4. Luria, A. R. (1987). The Mind Of A Mnemonist (2nd ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  5. Yates, F. A. (1966). The Art Of Memory. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

(Revised April 2010)