Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

John H. Mace


The current study aimed to investigate the relationship between involuntary memory and conceptual priming. Conceptual priming is priming that revolves around personal concepts like people and places. Two forms of conceptual priming were examined: immediate conceptual priming and delayed (24 hour) conceptual priming. First, participants were instructed to recall specific memories in a priming activity. After, they engaged in a vigilance task. Participants in the immediate group engaged in the vigilance task immediately after completing the priming activity, whereas participants in the delayed group engaged in the vigilance task 24 hours after completing the priming activity. An independent judge determined whether memories in the vigilance task contained content from the priming activity. If there was similar content, it was considered a "hit." Results showed that memory frequency did not differ among groups, which aligns with previous research in this area that suggests priming influences memory content, not memory occurrence. The proportion of total hits to total memories recorded was insignificant, but the proportion of specific memory hits to total hits recorded was significant. This finding supports several theories in memory research including the existence of an episodic memory network, as well as the idea of conceptual association dominance. Future studies should continue to explore the effect duration of conceptual priming, considering 24-hour conceptual priming yielded significant priming effects.

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