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Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Four experiments are reported that reevaluate P. M. Merikle and E. M. Reingold's (1991) demonstration of unconscious memory: the greater sensitivity to familiarity (repetition) of an indirect (implicit) memory task than of a comparable direct (explicit) task. At study, participants named the cued member of a pair of visually presented words. At test, new and uncued study words were presented against a background mask. Participants judged whether each word was old or new (direct task) or whether the contrast between the word and the background was high or low (indirect task). Contrary to the original findings, the sensitivity of the indirect task to familiarity never exceeded that of the direct task. These findings pose a challenge to a key pillar of evidence for unconscious influences of memory.