Unaware Memory in Hypothesis Generation Tasks
Technical rept. Jun 1984-Feb 1986
ARMY RESEARCH INST FOR THE BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES ALEXANDRIA VA
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Memory researchers have distinguished two forms of memory deliberate recollection of prior events versus the unaware influence of prior events on the performance of a later task. This research investigated the nature of this distinction by further delineating the conditions under which aware and unaware memory are observed to be independent. Two experiments tested whether items presented for study would influence performance on a hypothesis generation task regardless of subjects ability to recognize the items. Depth of processing of the study items was also manipulated to test whether this variable would have a different effect on hypothesis generation and recognition. The hypothesis generation task in Experiment 1 required subjects to generate category instances. In Experiment 2, subjects formed hypotheses about the possible use of a described land area. After the hypothesis generation phase of each experiment, primed hypotheses were tested for recognition. Data analyses for both experiments revealed that particular hypotheses were primed by study items and that priming was unrelated to recognition performance. Level of processing of the study items influenced recognition but not priming. Theses results suggest that hypothesis generation, a relatively complex cognitive task, may be added to the growing list of tasks in which unaware memory is observed.