Semantic structure of personal information.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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A sequential arrangement of processing stages is incorporated into most theoretical models of person recognition (e.g., Bruce & Young, 1986). Simple familiar/unfamiliar decisions are earliest, followed by access to semantic information, followed by naming.
To date, the stage involved in semantic decisions has received least attention. Thus, relatively little is known about how we store personal semantic information. More research into this stage is necessary if we are to better understand the organisation of semantic memory for familiar people. The primary aim of this dissertation is to provide new evidence relating to the storage and retrieval of such information.
The first line of enquiry attempts to discriminate between two influential models in this area (Burton et.al., 1990 and Bredart et. al., 1995), by using a new method involving semantic judgement tasks in the traditional semantic priming paradigm. In one model (Burton et. al., 1990), semantic information is stored in a single undifferentiated pool. In the other model (Bredart et. al., 1995) semantic information is clustered into separate pools. The two types of account make different predictions about certain patterns of priming during information retrieval. The experiments reported here fail to discriminate between the models.
Later experiments identify the locus of the reported semantic priming effects and provide an explanation of these findings within a structural model of person recognition.
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