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Unconscious influences on behaviour : the advantage of guessing consciously irretrievable information

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posted on 2023-05-26, 20:50 authored by Langsford, PB
A useful paradigm for investigating unconscious influences on performance derives from the study of explicit (conscious) and implicit (unconscious) memory, however direct and indirect tests used to measure these constructs are seldom process pure, and it is problematic to make firm conclusions about unconscious influences on the basis of these tests alone. Consequently, various methodologies for separating out the respective influence of unconscious processes have been devised. Two experiments are reported which employed a levels of processing (LOP) approach to manipulate encoding level at study and a unique method for accessing the effect of unconscious influences on direct test performance by analysing the correctness of responses reported as \guessed.\" Experiment 1 (n = 12) employed a direct (cued recall) test and was a preliminary attempt to establish the validity of the \"analysis of guessing\" methodology. Experiment 2 (n =36) employed comparable direct (cued recall) and indirect (stem completion) tests and investigated unconscious influences in a more rigorous manner by obtaining confidence ratings of recollection on a 5-point scale and accepting only zero ratings as reliably guessed. Analysis of correctly guessed responses showed that guessing stems of nonsemantically processed words enhanced direct test performance whereas guessing stems of semantically processed words had no affect on performance. Results are discussed in terms of subjects' unwitting resourcefulness at being able to \"retrieve\" words they cannot explicitly remember and the advantage offered by the analysis of guessing methodology over and above alternate methods for measuring unconscious influences."


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Copyright 1994 the uthor - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Appendix F appears to be the equivalent of a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Psychological research. The final authenticated version is available online at:

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