Implicit Memory - Evidence For The Separation of Implicit and Explicit Memory - Other Evidence For Differences Between Implicit and Explicit Memory

Other Evidence For Differences Between Implicit and Explicit Memory

Besides the study of amnesic patients, other evidence also indicates a separation between implicit and explicit memory. Basic patterns that exist for explicit memory development do not apply to implicit memory, implying that the two are two different processes. Children tested at various increasing ages, in different stages of development, do not exhibit the same increase in performance in implicit memory tasks the way they always do with explicit memory tasks. The same is true for elderly people. Studies show that as people grow older, their performance on explicit memory tasks declines, however their performance on implicit memory tasks does not decline at all.

Many experiments have been performed to demonstrate the differences between implicit and explicit memory. One such method of differentiation is revealed through the depth-of-processing effect. In a 1981 study by Jacoby and Dallas, subjects were first given a list of words and asked to engage with them in some way. For some of these words, subjects were asked to interact with the words in a relatively superficial way, such as counting the number of letters in each given word. For one set of words, subjects performed tasks that required elaborative processing (denotation), such as answering questions about a word’s meaning. They were then given a test that assessed their ability to recognize whether they had seen the word in the studying part of the experiment. Because depth of processing aids in the explicit memory of a word, subjects showed better memory for the words that required elaborative processing on this test. When implicit memory was tested through flashing words on a screen and asking subjects to identify them, however, the priming effect was extremely similar for the words that involved elaborative processing as compared to the words that did not. This suggests that implicit memory does not rely on depth of processing as explicit memory does.

The same study also tested the effect on memory by priming the words via an auditory test and then testing through visual stimuli. In this case, there was little decline in the priming effect when patients were tested explicitly by merely being asked whether they recognized hearing the word in the first part of the experiment. On the word identification test of implicit memory, however, the priming effect was severely reduced by the change in modality from the studying part to the testing part.

A later study showed that attempts to interfere with the memory of a list of words significantly impacted subjects’ ability to recognize the words in a test of explicit recognition, but the interference did not have a similar effect on the subject’s implicit memory of the words. Also, there seems to be no statistical correlation between a person’s ability to explicitly remember a list of words and their ability to subconsciously use the priming effect to aid performance in identifying previously seen words in tests of word completion. All of these results strongly indicate that implicit memory not only exists, but exists as its own entity, with its own processes that significantly differ from explicit memory.

Read more about this topic:  Implicit Memory, Evidence For The Separation of Implicit and Explicit Memory

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