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Conscious Cogn. 2002 Sep;11(3):423-60.

A comparison of conscious and automatic memory processes for picture and word stimuli: a process dissociation analysis.

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Department of Psychology, Illinois State University, Campus Box 4620, Normal, IL 61790-4620, USA.


Four experiments were conducted to evaluate explanations of picture superiority effects previously found for several tasks. In a process dissociation procedure (Jacoby, 1991) with word stem completion, picture fragment completion, and category production tasks, conscious and automatic memory processes were compared for studied pictures and words with an independent retrieval model and a generate-source model. The predictions of a transfer appropriate processing account of picture superiority were tested and validated in "process pure" latent measures of conscious and unconscious, or automatic and source, memory processes. Results from both model fits verified that pictures had a conceptual (conscious/source) processing advantage over words for all tasks. The effects of perceptual (automatic/word generation) compatibility depended on task type, with pictorial tasks favoring pictures and linguistic tasks favoring words. Results show support for an explanation of the picture superiority effect that involves an interaction of encoding and retrieval processes.

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