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Mem Cognit. 1999 May;27(3):512-25.

Effects of divided attention on perceptual and conceptual memory tests: an analysis using a process-dissociation approach.

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Department of Psychology, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-4820, USA.


In two experiments, the nature of the relation between attention available at learning and subsequent automatic and controlled influences of memory was explored. Participants studied word lists in full and divided encoding conditions. Memory for the word lists was then tested with a perceptually driven task (stem completion) in Experiment 1 and with a conceptually driven task (category association) in Experiment 2. For recall cued with word stems, automatic influences of memory derived using the process-dissociation procedure remained invariant across a manipulation of attention that substantially reduced conscious recollection for the learning episode. In contrast, for recall cued with category names, dividing attention at learning significantly reduced the parameter estimates representing both controlled and automatic memory processes. These findings were similar to those obtained using indirect test instructions. The results suggest that, in contrast to perceptual priming, conceptual priming may be enhanced by semantic processing, and this effect is not an artifact of contamination from conscious retrieval processes.

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