Age and processing effects on perceptual and conceptual priming

Ward, Emma V. ORCID logoORCID: (2022) Age and processing effects on perceptual and conceptual priming. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology . ISSN 1747-0218 [Article] (Published online first) (doi:10.1177/17470218221090128)

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Explicit (declarative) memory declines with age, but age effects on implicit (nondeclarative) memory are debated. Some studies have reported null changes in implicit memory (e.g., priming in word-fragment completion, perceptual identification, category exemplar generation) with age, while others have uncovered declines. One factor that may account for these discrepancies is processing. Evidence suggests that conceptual and perceptual processes are not equally affected by aging, yet processing requirements have varied greatly between studies. Processing may moderate age effects on priming, but no study has systematically examined this issue. This registered report presents an experiment to manipulate processing (conceptual / perceptual) during incidental encoding of words, prior to measures of perceptual (perceptual identification) and conceptual (category verification) priming. The perceptual and conceptual priming tasks were matched on all characteristics except processing, making them highly comparable. The four orthogonal conditions (perceptual encoding, perceptual test [PP]; conceptual encoding, perceptual test [CP]; perceptual encoding, conceptual test [PC]; conceptual encoding, conceptual test [CC]) were designed to clarify situations in which age effects on implicit memory emerge, which holds important practical and theoretical implications. Significant effects of Age, Test and an Age x Processing interaction emerged. Priming was greater in young than older adults and on the perceptual than the conceptual test, but in contrast to the predictions, the age difference was only significant when prior encoding was perceptual (i.e., in the PP and CP conditions).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Registered Report
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 34564
Notes on copyright: Ward, Emma V. Age and processing effects on perceptual and conceptual priming. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology April 2022 (Journal Volume Number and Issue Number) pp. xx-xx. Copyright © 2022 Experimental Psychology Society. DOI: 10.1177/17470218221090128
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
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Depositing User: Emma Ward
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2022 16:27
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 17:32

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