How sublexical association strength modulates updating: Cognitive and strategic effects
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In the current study, we investigated updating of long-term memory (LTM) associations. Specifically, we examined sublexical associations by manipulating preexisting LTM relations between consonant couplets (in encoding and updating phases), and explicitly instructed participants to engage with a specific strategy for approaching the task (item disjunction, grouping, or none). In two experiments, we used a multistep subject-based memory updating task in which we measured processing response times (RTs; Exp. 1, Exp. 2) and recognition RTs (Exp. 2). For the first time, in both experiments, we found costs in dismantling strong pre-existing associations from LTM and benefits in recreating strong preexisting associations. In addition, we found that control of irrelevant information was more difficult when this belonged to a strong association. Regarding task strategies, we showed that inducing a disjunction strategy enhanced updating, no matter the strength of the association. Results were discussed in the light of updating as a process of dismantling and recreating associations. The role of a specific strategic approach in enhancing the updating was also discussed.
KeywordsUpdating Long-term memory Working memory Sublexical representation Memory strategy
We wish to thank Candice Morey, Santiago Pelegrina, and a third reviewer for their helpful comments and suggestions, and Sara Bottani for her help with data collection.
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