Information storage in semantic memory was investigated by looking at automatic priming effects for new associations in two experiments. In the study phase word pairs were presented in a paired-associate learning task. Lexical decision and perceptual identification were used to examine priming effects during and after the study phase. There was automatic priming for new associations. The priming effect was greatly reduced when different semantic tasks were used at study and test compared to when identical tasks were used at study and test. The results show that new associations in semantic memory can be accessed automatically but are still context dependent. This suggests that rather than being abstract and static, retrieval from semantic memory interacts dynamically with the context.

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The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Department of Psychology

Pecher, D., & Raaijmakers, J. (1999). Automatic Priming Effects for New Associations in Lexical Decision and Perceptual Identification. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 52(3), 593–614. Retrieved from