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Repetition Priming of the Recognition of Familiar Proper Names
Three experiments examined repetition priming of the recognition of printed proper names of familiar people by the prior exposure of those names in their correct form or with their letters re-arranged as anagrams. Experiment 1 found that, compared with response times to previously unseen names, name familiarity decisions were made more rapidly if the subject had seen and identified the famous name in the pre-training stage, irrespective of whether they saw the intact name or an anagram. Priming was not demonstrated if the name was not recognized in the pre-training stage. The results of Experiment 2 suggested that if anagrams were not solved spontaneously in the pre-training stage, being prompted to their identity by the experimenter would not yield reliable priming at test, a result that reflected previous work using face stimuli (Brunas-Wagstaff, Young, & Ellis, 1992; Johnston, Barry, & Williams, 1996). In Experiment 3, prompts were given for all names and anagrams presented at pretraining. Subsequent priming was demonstrated only for names identified spontaneously, which showed that, as with face recognition, it was the situation in which the prime was given that was critical in determining whether priming of name recognition occurred. The findings are used to develop proposed extensions of the Bruce and Young (1986) model such as that offered by Burton, Bruce, and Johnston (1990).
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