According to leading theories, the picture superiority effect is driven by conceptual processing, yet this effect has been difficult to obtain using conceptual implicit memory tests. We hypothesized that the picture superiority effect results from conceptual processing of a picture’s distinctive features rather than a picture’s semantic features. To test this hypothesis, we used 2 conceptual implicit general knowledge tests; one cued conceptually distinctive features (e.g., "What animal has large eyes?") and the other cued semantic features (e.g., "What animal is the figurehead of Tootsie Roll?"). Results showed a picture superiority effect only on the conceptual test using distinctive cues, supporting our hypothesis that this effect is mediated by conceptual processing of a picture’s distinctive features.

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