Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Not Applicable

Advisor Role

Not Applicable


The speeded response technique has provided pure estimates of automatic retrieval in perceptual memory tasks. The present study was designed to investigate whether pure automatic retrieval could also be evidenced in a conceptual task. Subjects were encouraged to generate category exemplars using strictly automatic retrieval by presenting practice trials that did not allow responding with previously studied items and by encouraging speed of responding. This speeded condition was compared to a baseline condition in which conscious retrieval was not possible and to an explicit condition in which conscious retrieval was required. Average RTs in the speeded condition were the same as those in the baseline condition and were faster than those of the explicit condition, supporting the use of an automatic retrieval strategy in the speeded group. Semantic study did not increase target completion rates for the speeded or implicit groups, but it did for the explicit group, suggesting that conscious, but not automatic retrieval benefits from semantic encoding. Estimates of automatic retrieval obtained using PDP formula were identical to automatic estimates obtained using target completion from the speeded group. The idea of using higher frequency target category exemplars in a future study to further clarify present findings is explored.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Psychology Commons