Psychological Research

, Volume 69, Issue 5–6, pp 338–351 | Cite as

Measuring unconscious knowledge: distinguishing structural knowledge and judgment knowledge

  • Zoltán DienesEmail author
  • Ryan Scott
Original Article


This paper investigates the dissociation between conscious and unconscious knowledge in an implicit learning paradigm. Two experiments employing the artificial grammar learning task explored the acquisition of unconscious and conscious knowledge of structure (structural knowledge). Structural knowledge was contrasted to knowledge of whether an item has that structure (judgment knowledge). For both structural and judgment knowledge, conscious awareness was assessed using subjective measures. It was found that unconscious structural knowledge could lead to both conscious and unconscious judgment knowledge. When structural knowledge was unconscious, there was no tendency for judgment knowledge to become more conscious over time. Furthermore, conscious rather than unconscious structural knowledge produced more consistent errors in judgments, was facilitated by instructions to search for rules, and after such instructions was harmed by a secondary task. The dissociations validate the use of these subjective measures of conscious awareness.


Structural Knowledge Secondary Task Confidence Rating Implicit Learning Artificial Grammar Learning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of SussexBrightonUK

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