Psychology and Social Sciences



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Michelle Bass and Erika Burgasser, PSY 389: Human Memory
Faculty Mentor: Professor Stephani M. Foraker, Psychology

Human semantic memory contains general world knowledge accumulated through our lives. Semantic memory is important in knowing what an object is, the name of someone, a color, or random facts that we use on a daily basis. Semantic priming effects have been demonstrated to reflect facilitated access to semantic information. Here we used semantic primes (1-Step, 2-Step, No Prime Control Condition) to facilitate the recall of missing song lyrics to well-known and not as well-known songs. Each participant received each condition (1-Step, 2-Step, No Prime Control Condition) for both well-known and not well-known songs. We used an online survey through Qualtrics and recruited participants through Buffalo State's campus and social media (i.e. Facebook). Results suggested for the 1-Step prime condition accuracy is higher for well-known compared to not well-known songs. There was also an interaction between well-known and not well-known songs showing that for well-known songs, 1-Step and 2-Step primes did not differ in accuracy, while for less known songs, the 2-Step primes were surprisingly better than the 1-Step primes. Results supported previous research indicating that priming allows individuals to respond quickly and accurately to information being tested.

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Effects of Familiarity and Prime Type on Memory for Song Lyrics
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