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The role of inhibitory control in animacy effect: evidence from retrieval practice tasks

  • Jun Tao (a1), Bilin Deng (a2), Saisai Hu (a3) and Lin Xu (a1)

Abstract

Animate stimuli are remembered better than inanimate stimuli. The proximate mechanism of this preferential retrieval of animate stimuli has not been clarified. The present study proposes an inhibitory control explanation for the advantage of the memory of animate stimuli. The retrieval practice paradigm is employed to examine the role of inhibitory control in animacy effect in two experiments. The results of Experiment 1 revealed a strong inhibitory effect on animate stimuli but was not reliable on inanimate stimuli, suggesting that animacy effect is not due to the insensitivity to the inhibitory control. The results of Experiment 2 show the absence of animacy effect when animacy is designed as a between-subject variable, suggesting that the memory of artifact may be influenced by the memory of animals. These findings are discussed using the inhibitory control account and suggest that the role of inhibitory control in animacy effect is to selectively inhibit the memory of other categories in order to facilitate the retrieval of animals, indicating that inhibitory control is, in part, responsible for the animacy effect.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Jun Tao, Email: tjkevin@hrbu.edu.cn

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The role of inhibitory control in animacy effect: evidence from retrieval practice tasks

  • Jun Tao (a1), Bilin Deng (a2), Saisai Hu (a3) and Lin Xu (a1)

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