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Formation of semantic associations between subliminally presented face-word pairs

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2011
Author Duss SB, Oggier S, Reber TP, Henke K,
Project Does slow wave sleep strengthen the memory traces of both consciously and nonconsciously encoded episodes?
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal CONSCIOUSNESS AND COGNITION
Volume (Issue) 20(3)
Page(s) 928 - 935
Title of proceedings CONSCIOUSNESS AND COGNITION

Abstract

Recent evidence suggests that consciousness of encoding is not necessary for the rapid formation of new semantic associations. We investigated whether unconsciously formed associations are as semantically precise as would be expected for associations formed with consciousness of encoding during episodic memory formation. Pairs of faces and written occupations were presented subliminally for unconscious associative encoding. Five min. later, the same faces were presented suprathreshold for the cued unconscious retrieval of face-occupation associations. Retrieval instructions required participants to classify the presented individuals according to their putative 1) regularity of income, 2) length of education, and 3) creativity value of occupational activity. The three instructions yielded more classifications consistent with a person’s occupation if the person had been subliminally presented with his written occupation versus a meaningless word (control condition). This suggests that consciousness is not necessary to encode, long-term store, and retrieve semantically precise associations between primarily unrelated items.
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