NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1060120
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-May
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
The Influence of Working Memory Load on Semantic Priming
Heyman, Tom; Van Rensbergen, Bram; Storms, Gert; Hutchison, Keith A.; De Deyne, Simon
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v41 n3 p911-920 May 2015
The present research examines the nature of the different processes that have been proposed to underlie semantic priming. Specifically, it has been argued that priming arises as a result of "automatic target activation" and/or the use of strategies like prospective "expectancy generation" and "retrospective semantic matching." This article investigates the extent that these processes rely on cognitive resources by experimentally manipulating working memory load. To disentangle prospective and retrospective processes, prime-target pairs were selected such that they were symmetrically associated (e.g., "answer-question"; SYM) or asymmetrically associated in either the forward direction (e.g., "panda-bear"; FA) or the backward direction (e.g., "ball-catch"; BA). The results showed that priming for FA pairs completely evaporated under a high working memory load but that it remained stable for BA and SYM pairs. This was taken to mean that prospective processes, which are assumed to cause FA priming, require cognitive resources, whereas retrospective processes, which lead to BA priming, are relatively effortless.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Belgium
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A