Implicit memory for novel associations between pictures: Effects of stimulus unitization and aging.

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Memory and Cognition


implicit memory, novel associations, pictures, stimulus unitization, aging


Studies of implicit memory for novel associations have focused primarily on verbal materials and have highlighted the contribution of conceptually unitized representations to such priming. Using pictorial stimuli in a perceptual identification task, we examined whether new association priming can occur at a purely perceptual level. By manipulating the spatial contiguity of stimuli, we also evaluated whether such priming requires the creation of perceptually unitized representations. Finally, we examined the status of such priming in aging. In Experiment 1, we found that spatial contiguity of stimuli is not necessary for novel pictorial association priming to emerge, although such contiguity does enhance the magnitude of associative priming. In Experiment 2, we found that new association priming is age invariant, regardless of spatial contiguity. In Experiment 3, we provide additional evidence that pictorial association priming is perceptually based. These findings expand the scope and delineate the conditions of novel association priming and inform theories about the nature of implicit memory for new associations.