Mental contiguity

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In 2 experiments, 61 undergraduates were induced to actively maintain representations of pairs of unrelated words by overt rehearsal. A difficult primary digit-memory task done concurrently insured the absence of cognitive processes directed at the words other than those needed to maintain the pair. The effect of the duration of this sheer mental contiguity on the strength of the association between the co-rehearsed words was then assessed. Cued recall, using one member of each pair as a cue, produced virtually no responses. Some memory for the co-occurrence was demonstrated by the Ss' ability to discriminate between intact and mismatched pairs of previously rehearsed words as well as on an associative matching test. Nonetheless, memory for the co-occurrence was completely unaffected by duration of the contiguous processing. Results indicate that mental contiguity is not sufficient to increase the strength of an association. (19 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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