Subjective measures of unconscious knowledge of concepts

Mind and Society 5 (1):105-122 (2006)
This paper considers different subjective measures of conscious and unconscious knowledge in a concept formation paradigm. In particular, free verbal reports are compared with two subjective measures, the zero-correlation and the guessing criteria, based on trial-by-trial confidence ratings (a type of on-line verbal report). Despite the fact that free verbal reports are frequently dismissed as being insensitive measures of conscious knowledge, a considerable bulk of research on implicit learning has traditionally relied on this measure of consciousness, because it is widely regarded as almost self-evident that the content of any conscious state that is intentional and conceptual can be expressed verbally. However, we found that the most recently developed subjective measures based on trial-by-trial confidence ratings provided a more sensitive measure of conscious and unconscious knowledge than free verbal reports. In a complementary way, the qualitative pattern of the free report and the confidence measures were similar, providing further evidence for the validity of the latter
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