The roles of automatic and strategic processing in sensitivity to superordinate and property frequency

Barsalou, L. W. and Ross, B. H. (1986) The roles of automatic and strategic processing in sensitivity to superordinate and property frequency. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 12(1), pp. 116-134.

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Four experiments with 183 undergraduates examined the ability to estimate frequency for 2 kinds of nonpresented information automatically activated by presented items. Exp I showed that Ss were sensitive to how many presented items belonged to the same superordinate category (superordinate frequency) but were not sensitive to how many items shared the same context-independent property (property frequency). Exp II indicated that sensitivity to superordinate frequency did not result from strategically preparing for free recall. Exp III demonstrated that (1) conflicting strategic processing reduced but did not eliminate sensitivity to superordinate frequency and (2) appropriate strategic processing enabled sensitivity to property frequency. Findings of Exp IV show that experimental training made strategic processing unnecessary for sensitivity to property frequency and suggest that automatic processing only results in frequency sensitivity for nonpresented information whose well-established representations are of a certain type. It is concluded that strategic processing is not necessary for sensitivity to the frequency of nonpresented information and that sensitivity is reduced when strategic processing conflicts with well-established representations and becomes possible in the absence of well-established representations when appropriate strategic processing is used.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barsalou, Professor Lawrence
Authors: Barsalou, L. W., and Ross, B. H.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN (Online):0278-7393
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