What is it about?

The enactment effect is the observation that physically performing an action represented by a word or phrase leads to enhanced memory for that information relative to simply reading it. This review integrates evidence from behavioral, neuroimaging, and patient studies to highlight the utility of encoding multiple facets of an item or an event to enhance its retention. Enactment was found to be a reliable and effective mnemonic tool for both neurotypical and patient populations.

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Why is it important?

This meta-analysis and review demonstrates the potency of performing actions to improve memory. This memory strategy was found to be effective in older adults as well as in patients with a wide range of neurological disorders. Further, this review contributes to a broader literature surrounding how we can optimally encode information into memory.


This article has been a pet project of mine for almost five years from start to finish. It was truly a labor of love and I sure learned a lot in the process! I hope this review can serve as a foundation for more work to build upon, ultimately furthering our understanding of how actions are deeply intertwined with memory.

Brady Roberts
University of Waterloo

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The enactment effect: A systematic review and meta-analysis of behavioral, neuroimaging, and patient studies., Psychological Bulletin, July 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/bul0000360.
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