Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

The Effects of Generation on Auditory Implicit Memory

Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

The Effects of Generation on Auditory Implicit Memory

Article excerpt

The generation manipulation produces the classic functional dissociation between explicit and implicit memory. This dissociation has been explained by the transfer-appropriate processing (TAP) framework, which emphasizes the overlap in cognitive processes operative at encoding and at retrieval. However, the vast majority of implicit memory studies have been conducted in the visual modality; in the auditory modality, the effects of generation have never been investigated. In four experiments, we examined the effects of generating from semantic and nonsemantic cues on auditory implicit tests. Generating from antonyms produced a reversed generation effect on priming in auditory perceptual identification and word stem completion, while producing the traditional positive effect on explicit recognition. Generating from definitions, as well as from rhymes, also produced a reversed generation effect on auditory priming. These results are critical for more fully characterizing auditory priming and are consistent with an extended TAP analysis.

Explicit memory refers to conscious, intentional recollection of previous experiences and is assessed with direct memory tests, such as free recall and recognition. Implicit memory, in contrast, refers to nonconscious, unintentional influences of memory and is typically measured through repetition priming-in which performance on a task is facilitated (or otherwise influenced) by previous study presentation, relative to a new or baseline condition (Mulligan, 2003; Schacter, 1987). Explicit and implicit memory have been dissociated in several ways. For example, amnesic patients perform worse than normal controls on explicit tests but usually exhibit intact levels of priming (Carlesimo, 1999; Eichenbaum & Cohen, 2001). Similar population dissociations are found between patients with schizophrenia and normal control subjects (e.g., Danion, Meulemans, Kauffmann-Muller, & Vermaat, 2001), as well as between older and younger adults (e.g., Light, Singh, & Capps, 1986; see Jelicic, 1995, for a review).

In addition to population differences, numerous experimental variables dissociate explicit and implicit memory (Mulligan, 2003; Roediger & McDermott, 1993). For example, levels of processing produces a dramatic effect on explicit memory but, typically, little effect on perceptual priming. In contrast, study modality affects perceptual priming and has little effect on most explicit tests (see Roediger & McDermott, 1993, for a review). The classic functional dissociation between explicit and implicit memory is produced by the generation manipulation, originally demonstrated by Jacoby (1983). In this study, subjects read some words without context (a target word accompanied by a neutral stimulus-e.g., XXX-cold), read some words in a meaningful context (accompanied by an antonym-e.g., hot-cold ), and generated other words from the same meaningful context (e.g., hot-???). The subjects were later tested either on recognition of the target words or on the perceptual identification (PI) task, in which subjects identify briefly presented words. Jacoby found the traditional generation effect on the explicit test: Generated items were recognized better than words read in context (which, in turn, were recognized better than words in the no-context condition). However, the effect was reversed on the PI task. Identification was highest for words in the no-context condition, intermediate for the read-context condition, and lowest for the generate condition.

This reversed generation effect has been explained within the transfer-appropriate processing (TAP) framework, which emphasizes the overlap in cognitive processes operative at encoding and at retrieval. The processing overlap in the generation paradigm has been explained specifically in terms of perceptual (or data-driven) and conceptual processing (Jacoby, 1983; Roediger, 1990). Reading (especially in the no-context condition) requires subjects to process words on the basis of their surfacelevel perceptual features. …

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