Discussion question: Is perceptual priming vulnerable to decay over time? (Answer: No).
Mitchell, a psychological researcher at Kennesaw State University, conducted a longitudinal study evaluating the durability of perceptual priming effect. Forty-eight students were chosen to complete implicit (picture naming) and explicit (picture recognition) memory tasks in the laboratory in 1982 (Mitchell, 1989; Snodgrass & Vanderwart, 1980). Approximately six months later, these students received a questionnaire requesting explicit recall of laboratory events. Twenty-nine (60.4%) subjects completed the questionnaires and mailed them back. .
Seventeen years later, twelve subjects (41.4%), got the second questionnaire concerning the picture-fragment identification test, thereafter they returned the completed sheets (Snodgrass & Corwin, 1988). Also, there was a control group, which consisted of 21 subjects tested in 1999. Mitchell found that subjects in the longitudinal group correctly identified more fragmented drawings of studied than new objects and differentiated more studied objects than did subjects in the control group who had never seen the pictures. This study shows that perceptual priming effect can last for very long periods.
Long-term memory can be divided into two types: explicit and implicit memory. Explicit memory requires attention and can be consciously recalled. By contrast, implicit memory that a person does not know exists is retrieved unconsciously. Also, Priming, one type of implicit memory, is an enhanced ability to retrieve a hidden memory by using cues, such as the first letter of words or partial drawings of objects (Coon & Mitterer, 2012). Priming can be separated into two categories: perceptual priming (stimuli are visually related) and conceptual priming (stimuli are lexically related) (Cacioppo & Freberg, 2013). Moreover, the distinction between implicit and explicit memory has been found from the previous finding that implicit memory tends to last for very long periods of time, often continuing to influence responses long after the subject has lost any ability to retrieve the target items explicitly (Tulving et al.