Understanding the relationship between repetition priming and mere exposure
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1348/0007126042369776
Over the last two decades interest in implicit memory, most notably repetition priming, has grown considerably. During the same period, research has also focused on the mere exposure effect. Although the two areas have developed relatively independently, a number of studies has described the mere exposure effect as an example of implicit memory. Tacit in their comparisons is the assumption that the effect is more specifically a demonstration of repetition priming. Having noted that this assumption has attracted relatively little attention, this paper reviews current evidence and shows that it is by no means conclusive. Although some evidence is suggestive of a common underlying mechanism, even a modified repetition priming (perceptual fluency/attribution) framework cannot accommodate all of the differences between the two phenomena. Notwithstanding this, it seems likely that a version of this theoretical framework still offers the best hope of a comprehensive explanation for the mere exposure effect and its relationship to repetition priming. As such, the paper finishes by offering some initial guidance as to ways in which the perceptual fluency/attribution framework might be extended, as well as outlining important areas for future research.