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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Holger Wiese

Wiese, H. & Schweinberger, S.R. (2015). Getting connected: Both associative and semantic links structure semantic memory for newly learned persons. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 68(11): 2131-2148.

Author(s) from Durham


The present study examined whether semantic memory for newly learned people is structured by visual co-occurrence, shared semantics, or both. Participants were trained with pairs of simultaneously presented (i.e., co-occurring) preexperimentally unfamiliar faces, which either did or did not share additionally provided semantic information (occupation, place of living, etc.). Semantic information could also be shared between faces that did not co-occur. A subsequent priming experiment revealed faster responses for both co-occurrence/no shared semantics and no co-occurrence/shared semantics conditions, than for an unrelated condition. Strikingly, priming was strongest in the co-occurrence/shared semantics condition, suggesting additive effects of these factors. Additional analysis of event-related brain potentials yielded priming in the N400 component only for combined effects of visual co-occurrence and shared semantics, with more positive amplitudes in this than in the unrelated condition. Overall, these findings suggest that both semantic relatedness and visual co-occurrence are important when novel information is integrated into person-related semantic memory.