Encoding tasks dissociate the effects of divided attention on category-cued recall and category-exemplar generation

Exp Psychol. 2012;59(3):124-31. doi: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000134.


The combined effects of encoding tasks and divided attention upon category-exemplar generation and category-cued recall were examined. Participants were presented with pairs of words each comprising a category name and potential example of that category. They were then asked to indicate either (i) their liking for both of the words or (ii) if the exemplar was a member of the category. It was found that divided attention reduced performance on the category-cued recall task under both encoding conditions. However, performance on the category-exemplar generation task remained invariant across the attention manipulation following the category judgment task. This provides further evidence that the processes underlying performance on conceptual explicit and implicit memory tasks can be dissociated, and that the intentional formation of category-exemplar associations attenuates the effects of divided attention on category-exemplar generation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Attention*
  • Concept Formation*
  • Cues*
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Mental Recall*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Young Adult