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PSYCH 2H03 (60)
Chapter 6

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McMaster University
Judith Shedden

The Breadth of Implicit Memory - Experiment: People are shown a stimulus once, and then shown again another time o With a further delay, participants no longer have an explicit memory for the first time they met the stimulus – they’re not aware that the second encounter is a second encounter but that they’re meeting for the stimulus for the first time o People will lose their explicit memory but they will have an implicit memory – how will they be influenced by this? Depends on the context (people will often say it “rings a bell”) - The famous test: o For some participants, the “famous” list was presented right after the “pronounce” list - These people have a feeling of familiarity but also remembers the source of the familiarity o 24 hour delay: Participants are likely to rate the made-up names as being famous - The false judgments of fame came from the way the participants interpreted the feeling of familiarity, and what conclusions they drew from it - Implicit memories seem to leave people only with a vague sense that a stimulus is somehow distinctive; what happens after this depends on how they interpret that feeling Implicit Memory and the “Illusion of Truth” - Experiment: To question how sentence credibility is influenced by sentence familiarity o Participants were explicitly told not to believe the sentences in the first list “Switzerland eats 25 pounds of cheese each year” o In one procedure, they told that half the statements were made by men, half by women… women’s statements were considered always true, men’s always false o Individuals without explicit memory: can’t remember if the assertion came from a male or female, so can’t use that source to judge the sentence’s truth o Person still has implicit memory for the sentence (“I’m sure I’ve heard that somewhere before; I guess it must be true”) - Statements plainly identified as false when they were first heard still created the so-called illusion of truth; that is, these statements were subsequently judged to be more credible than sentences they never heard before Attributing Implicit Memory to the Wrong Stimulus - Experiment: Participants were presented with bursts of noise and asked to judge how loud each noise was. Embedded in each burst was a sentence o Some of the sentences were new, some they have seen before o The ones that they’ve seen before, they recognized them easier (recognition priming) o But then participants seemed to reason: “Since that sentence was easy to hear, then I guess the noise couldn’t have been loud” o Participants mistakenly attribute this difference to differing noise levels (the words are objectively familiar, but there’s no subjective sense of familiarity) Attributing Implicit Memory to the Wrong Source - Experiment: Witnessing a staged crime, showing “mug shots” of individuals who weren’t event apart of the crime o Participants thought the ones presented through mug shots were truly guilty of the crime o 29% of the participants (falsely) selected the lineup the individual they saw from mug shots - Source confusion: Participants correctly realized the people who looked familiar, but they were confused, about the source of familiarity Theoretical Treatments of Implicit Memory - Other experiments have shown that participants often prefer a previously presented stimulus over a novel stimulus, even though they have no sense of familiarity with either stimulus (their preference is being guided by memory) Implicit Memory: A hypothesis - Implicit memory is simply the name we give to these practice effects and the resulting increase in processing fluency - People are also sensitive to the degree of processing fluency o People know when they have perceived easily and when they have perceived only by expending effort o When something becomes easy to perceive, people register a vague sense of specialness (“ringing a bell”). The sense of specialness has a simple cause – namely, ease in processing, brought on by fluency, which in turn was created by practice - When people feels a stimulus as special, they want to know why, thereby triggering an attribution process o People can sometimes interpret this specialness correctly with familiarity, but can also make a mistake about the familiarity’s source o They can also interpret the stimulus seeming special in a different way all together (e.g. reaction because of the stimulus’ beauty, etc) - We can detect decreases in perceptual fluency as well as increases o Example: Change in friend’s appearance, but you can’t pin-point it out exactly Nature of Familiarity - What is familiarity? o You have encountered the stimulus before o Because of previous encounter, you are faster and more effienct in processing that stimulus o You detect the fluency, and leads you to think it’s special o You reach a particular decision about that specialness o Finally, draw a conclusion about when and where you encountered the word - Familiarity isn’t a feeling that is directly triggered by a stimulus. It’s a conclusion that you draw, that is based on a feeling that is triggered by a stimulus Specificity of Implicit Memories - Implicit memory is a skill - Implicit memories are specific, but the nature of the specificity varies from one case to the next in a sensible fashion o Some implicit memories depend on perceptual skill – skill in recognizing a particular stimulus o Some depend on conceptual skill – skill in thinking about a particular combination of ideas - Priming effect in lexical-decision tasks: o Participants first hear a tape-recorded list of words and then see the test items o Shit in modality reduces priming effect o Practice with an auditory presentation of a word doesn’t help you if you later need skill in recognizing the visual presentation of the same word - Conceptual fluency: fluency in thinking about an idea’s meaning or an idea’s implicatio
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