Subjects took an implicit memory test in which pairs of unrelated words were flashed briefly and the ability to identify the second word of each pair was measured as a function of prior study. In young subjects, identification was better when the second word had been studied compared to when it had not been studied (word-specific priming). Identification was also better when the two words had been paired at study compared to when they had been studied separately (association-specific priming). In amnesic patients, word-specific priming was normal compared to that in age- and IQ-matched control subjects. Association-specific priming was observed, but it was below normal levels. This outcome suggests that the amnesic dysfunction can encompass priming of new verbal associations but spare priming of existing verbal information.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience