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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2004 Nov;5(11):853-62.

Specificity of priming: a cognitive neuroscience perspective.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


Priming is a nonconscious form of memory that involves a change in a person's ability to identify, produce or classify an item as a result of a previous encounter with that item or a related item. One important question relates to the specificity of priming - the extent to which priming reflects the influence of abstract representations or the retention of specific features of a previous episode. Cognitive neuroscience analyses provide evidence for three types of specificity: stimulus, associative and response. We consider empirical, methodological and conceptual issues that relate to each type of specificity, and suggest a theoretical perspective to help in guiding future research.

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