Academic journal article Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

Familiarity Is Related to Conceptual Implicit Memory: An Examination of Individual Differences

Academic journal article Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

Familiarity Is Related to Conceptual Implicit Memory: An Examination of Individual Differences

Article excerpt

Published online: 26 July 2012

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2012

Abstract Explicit memory is thought to be distinct from implicit memory. However, growing evidence has indicated that explicit familiarity-based recognition memory judgments rely on the same process that supports conceptual implicit memory. We tested this hypothesis by examining individual differences using a paradigm wherein we measured both familiarity and conceptual implicit memory within the same participants. In Experiments 1a and 1b, we examined recognition memory confidence ROCs and remember/know responses, respectively, to estimate recollection and familiarity, and used a free association task to measure conceptual implicit memory. The results demonstrated that, across participants, familiarity, but not recollection, was significantly correlated with conceptual priming. In contrast, in Experiment 2, utilizing a similar paradigm, a comparison of recognition memory ROCs and explicit associative cued-recall performance indicated that cued recall was related to both recollection and familiarity. These results are consistent with models assuming that familiarity-based recognition and conceptual implicit memory rely on similar underlying processes.

Keywords Familiarity . Recollection . Implicit memory . Conceptual priming . Associative cued recall

It has long been thought that declarative, or explicit,memory is supported by processes reliant on the medial temporal lobes, whereas nondeclarative, or implicit, memory is supported by neocortical regions (e.g., Gabrieli, 1998; Schacter, Chiu & Ochsner, 1993; Squire, 2004). An alternative possibility, however, is that familiarity-based recognition and implicit memory rely on a common underlying process (e.g., Henke, 2010; Jacoby, 1991; Mandler, 1980; Wagner & Gabrieli, 1998; Yonelinas, 2002). It has, for example, been suggested that the same process that leads an item to seem familiar on an explicit recognition memory test may also lead an item to come to mind more readily in a conceptual implicit memory test, such as an implicit exemplar generation task (Henke, 2010;Wagner & Gabrieli, 1998; Wang, Lazzara, Ranganath, Knight & Yonelinas, 2010; Yonelinas, 2002; but see Donaldson, Petersen, & Buckner, 2001; Voss, Lucas, & Paller, 2012).

Consistent with the hypothesis that conceptual implicit memory and familiarity are supported by the same underlying process, both are sensitive to behavioral manipulations of attention, study duration, and depth of encoding (e.g., Challis & Sidhu, 1993; Hamann, 1990; Light, Prull & Kennison, 2000; Mulligan & Stone, 1999; Srinivas & Roediger, 1990; for a review, see Yonelinas, 2002). In contrast, perceptual implicit memory, as measured on tasks such as word fragment completion, is generally unaffected by these manipulations, suggesting that these forms of implicit memory are distinct (Gabrieli, 1998; Schacter et al., 1993). Moreover, patient and neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that the perirhinal cortex, a medial temporal lobe region adjacent to the hippocampus, is critical for both familiarity (Yonelinas, Kroll, Quamme, Lazzara, Sauvé, Widaman & Knight, 2002; for reviews, see Diana, Yonelinas & Ranganath, 2007; Eichenbaum, Yonelinas & Ranganath, 2007; Yonelinas, Aly, Wang & Koen, 2010) and conceptual implicit memory (e.g., Blaxton, 1992; O'Kane, Insler &Wagner, 2005; Voss, Hauner, & Paller, 2009; Wang et al., 2010; but see Levy, Stark & Squire, 2004).

In the present study, we adopted a novel approach to test the hypothesis that conceptual implicit memory and familiarity rely on the same underlying process. Rather than examining how these types of memory respond to different experimental variables, or looking to determine the brain regions involved in these processes, we sought to investigate whether participants with greater familiarity would exhibit more conceptual implicit memory than did participants with less familiarity. …

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