Remembering ‘primed’ words: The effect of prime encoding demands.
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Rosner, Lopez-Benitez, D'Angelo, Thomson, and Milliken (2017) reported a novel recognition memory effect using an immediate repetition method during the study phase. During each trial of an incidental study phase, participants named a target word that followed a prime word that had the same identity (repeated trials) or a different identity (not-repeated trials). Recognition in the following test phase was better for the not-repeated trials. In the present study, we examined the influence of prime encoding demands on this counterintuitive effect. In Experiment 1, we instructed 1 group to simply ignore the prime, as in the original study. A second group completed a divided attention task on prime presentation. Recognition memory was better for not-repeated than repeated words in both groups. In Experiment 2, encoding of the prime varied across 3 groups: 1 group named each prime, a second group counted the vowels in each prime, and a third group made a semantic discrimination for each prime. Recognition was better for repeated than for not-repeated words in the semantic group and did not differ across conditions for the other 2 groups. Finally, in Experiment 3, we assessed memory for not-repeated primes in addition to memory for targets (as in Experiments 1 and 2). The results confirmed that poor memory for the primes plays a significant role in producing the previously described effects. The results are discussed in relation to transient processing adaptations that affect memory encoding. (PsycINFO Database Record
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