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The role of colour in implicit and explicit memory performance

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We present two experiments that examine the effects of colour transformation between study and test (from black and white to colour and vice versa, or from incorrectly coloured to correctly coloured and vice versa) on implicit and explicit measures of memory for diagnostically coloured natural objects (e.g., yellow banana). For naming and coloured-object decision (i.e., deciding whether an object is correctly coloured), there were shorter response times to correctly coloured-objects than to black-and-white and incorrectly coloured-objects. Repetition priming was equivalent for the different stimulus types. Colour transformation did not influence priming of picture naming, but for coloured-object decision priming was evident only for objects remaining the same from study to test. This was the case for both naming and coloured-object decision as study tasks. When participants were asked to consciously recognize objects that they had named or made coloured-object decisions to previously, whilst ignoring their colour, colour transformation reduced recognition efficiency. We discuss these results in terms of the flexibility of object representations that mediate priming and recognition.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02724980244000684

Affiliations: University of Kent, Canterbury, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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