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Implicit Memory: Effects of Elaboration Depend on Unitization

Daniel L. Schacter and Susan M. McGlynn
The American Journal of Psychology
Vol. 102, No. 2 (Summer, 1989), pp. 151-181
DOI: 10.2307/1422950
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1422950
Page Count: 31
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Implicit Memory: Effects of Elaboration Depend on Unitization
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Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated that performance on implicit memory tests such as word completion and identification does not require elaborative study processing, whereas performance on explicit memory tests such as recall and recognition is strongly dependent on elaborative study processing. We examined the effects of elaborative and nonelaborative study tasks on implicit memory for unitized and nonunitized word pairs. Unitized pairs were represented by common idioms (e.g., SOUR GRAPES) and highly related paired associates (e.g., TABLE-CHAIR). Nonunitized pairs were represented by British idioms (e.g., CURTAIN LECTURE) and unrelated paired associates (e.g., SALT-CHAIR). Implicit memory was assessed with a free-association test. Results of four experiments indicated that implicit memory for unitized pairs was independent of several, though not all, types of study processing that affected explicit recall. In contrast, implicit memory for nonunitized pairs was dependent on the same types of elaborative study processing that influenced explicit recall. The findings are discussed in the context of activation and episodic views of implicit memory.

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