A series of experiments investigated the integration of new vocabulary words into semantic memory and the creation of new associations between preexisting, but previously unrelated, words. The ability of the newly learned vocabulary words and associations to facilitate lexical decisions when serving as primes under conditions associated with automatic processing was used to index integration. The results indicate that very extensive study is necessary for such integration to occur and that it is easier to add a new word to semantic memory than to establish a link between two formerly unconnected words already in semantic memory. The implications of these results for models of semantic memory and the episodic/semantic distinction are considered.
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