Recollection is sometimes automatic in that details of a prior encounter with an item come to mind although those details are irrelevant to a current task. For example, when asked about the size of the type in which an item was earlier presented, one might automatically recollect the location in which it was presented. We used the process dissociation procedure to show that such noncriterial recollection can function as familiarity—its effects were independent of intended recollection.
Cognitive control constrains retrieval processing and so restricts what comes to mind as input to the attribution system. We review evidence that older adults, patients with Alzheimer's disease, and people with traumatic brain injury exert less cognitive control during retrieval, and so are susceptible to memory misattributions in the form of dramatic levels of false remembering.
In light of an historical obsession with human error, Krueger & Funder (K&F) suggest that social psychologists should emphasize the strengths of social perception. In our view, however, absolute levels of accuracy (or error) in any given experiment are less important than underlying processes. We discuss the use of the process-dissociation procedure for gaining insight into the mechanisms underlying accuracy and error.
In a recent paper, Graf and Komatsu (1994) argued that the process dissociation procedure (Jacoby, 1991) is limited in its ability to separate and measure conscious and unconscious forms of memory and so should be "handIed with caution". Given that the study of unconscious influences has always posed a difficult problem for memory researchers, we agree with the general emphasis on caution. In this paper, we too advocate caution, especially as it applies to the use of indirect tests, assessing Graf (...) and Komatsu’s critique, and using the process dissociation procedure. We address the substantive issues raised by Graf and Komatsu and also point out the errors, both factual and logical, in their paper. Any method proposing to provide separate measures of conscious and unconscious influences requires judicious use and a careful examination of its underlying assumptions. The assumptions underlying the process dissociation framework are supported by a large number of experiments spanning a diverse range of.. (shrink)