In four experiments, we examined the effect that presenting a verbal stimulus (viz., an English noun) alongside an abstract visual stimulus (viz., a Chinese character) enhances recognition memory for the abstract visual stimulus. Experiment 1 demonstrated that the character-plus-word combination at both encoding and retrieval results in better recognition than does a character-alone presentation or presenting the combination at encoding only. Experiment 2 demonstrated that presenting the word first and then the character results in better performance than does the opposite order. Experiment 3 showed that the concreteness value of the word, not familiarity, is the critical factor. In Experiment 4, presentation time was varied. More time was needed for liftoff from chance level for the word-character combination than for the character-alone presentation. Together, the results suggest that subjects spontaneously assimilate stimulus and word into a single representation by building asymmetric effortful imagery associations, going from the English word to the Chinese character.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)