Implicit Memory and Metacognition

By Lynne M. Reder | Go to book overview

availability of attentional resources. Memory research has a long tradition of asking about intentions and strategies, primarily questions about the strategies engaged for learning (e.g., What kinds are there, In what situation are they used, Are some more attention demanding, Can they be stopped?) and how they influence recall and recognition test performance. The first section of this chapter outlined a few prominent examples from this literature. By contrast, recent research with implicit and explicit memory tests has focused more attention on retrieval strategies.

Our current knowledge of implicit and explicit retrieval strategies comes from research efforts that can be pigeonholed according to the various entries in Fig. 2.2. Cognitive psychology's efforts have focused primarily on topics or task properties appearing under cues (i.e., the specific materials made available for study or at test). For example, they have asked about how word frequency, the modality of presentation, or the type of test cue (e.g., complete words, word fragments) influence implicit and explicit memory test performance. Smaller scale efforts have been made to learn about the role of study and test contexts (e.g., happy vs. sad, verbal vs. pictorial), and about influences due to specific modes of responding (e.g., speed vs. accuracy). By contrast, developmentally oriented investigations and studies with various neuropsychological patients have tended to focus attention more on attributes of the rememberer (e.g., familiarity with different learning strategies, individual differences in processing resources).

Our objective in this chapter was to provide insight into those aspects of implicit and explicit memory retrieval that fit into Fig. 2.2 under the instructions heading. Instructions to subjects are critical and often the only variable manipulated to bring about implicit and explicit memory retrieval, and for this reason, we turned the spot light to properties of strategies that are selected or created in response to instructions. The.results of our exercise suggest that novelty (subjects' familiarity with the instructions), search domain (the to-be-searched memory space), and search set size should be entered as features of instructions, and that future research must disentangle the effect of each of them on implicit and explicit memory tests.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Preparation of this chapter was funded by a research grant to Peter Graf and a graduate studentship to Angela R. Birt, both from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Correspondence concerning this chapter should be addressed to Peter Graf, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, B.C., V6T IZ4. Email: pgraf@cortex.psych.ubc.ca.

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