Academic Scholarship

When Modality Matters: Perceptual Versus Conceptual Fluency Based Illusions in Recognition Memory

Journal of Memory and Language, 58(4),1080-1094., May 2008

Photo Needed Marianne E. Lloyd, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
J.K. Miller and D.L. Westerman

Previous research has shown that illusions of recognition memory based on enhanced perceptual fluency are sensitive to the perceptual match between the study and test phases of an experiment. The results of the current study strengthen that conclusion, as they show that participants will not interpret enhanced perceptual fluency as a sign of recognition memory when there has been a change in sensory modality across the study and test phases of the experiment. This pattern of results was found even when participants visualized each word on an auditory study list, and when there was a long delay between study and test. The results also show that illusions of recognition that are based on more conceptually driven manipulations of processing fluency are not sensitive to modality changes between study and test. Overall, the results suggest that attributions of processing fluency in recognition memory are sensitive to the degree to which the experienced fluency of a stimulus is diagnostic of its prior occurrence.


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