Selective attention affects conceptual object priming and recognition: A study with young and older adults

Article English OPEN
Soledad eBallesteros ; Julia eMayas (2015)
  • Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
  • Journal: Frontiers in Psychology, volume 5 (issn: 1664-1078, eissn: 1664-1078)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01567, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01567/full, pmc: PMC4290485
  • Subject: Psychology | Repetition Priming | implicit memory | Original Research Article | recognition | conceptual repetition priming | BF1-990 | explicit memory | conceptual implicit memory | Aging | selective attention

In the present study, we investigated the effects of selective attention at encoding on conceptual object priming (Experiment 1) and old–new recognition memory (Experiment 2) tasks in young and older adults. The procedures of both experiments included encoding and memory test phases separated by a short delay. At encoding, the picture outlines of two familiar objects, one in blue and the other in green, were presented to the left and to the right of fixation. In Experiment 1, participants were instructed to attend to the picture outline of a certain color and to classify the object as natural or artificial. After a short delay, participants performed a natural/artificial speeded conceptual classification task with repeated attended, repeated unattended, and new pictures. In Experiment 2, participants at encoding memorized the attended pictures and classify them as natural or artificial. After the encoding phase, they performed an old–new recognition memory task. Consistent with previous findings with perceptual priming tasks, we found that conceptual object priming, like explicit memory, required attention at encoding. Significant priming was obtained in both age groups, but only for those pictures that were attended at encoding. Although older adults were slower than young adults, both groups showed facilitation for attended pictures. In line with previous studies, young adults had better recognition memory than older adults.
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