Research examining the relation between explicit and implicit forms of memory has generated a great deal of evidence concerning the issue of multiple memory systems. This article focuses on an extensively studied implicit memory phenomenon, known as direct or repetition priming, and examines the hypothesis that priming effects on various tasks reflect the operation of a perceptual representation system (PRS)—a class of cortically based subsystems that operate at a presemantic level and support non conscious expressions of memory. Three PRS subsystems are examined: visual word form, structural description, and auditory word form. Pertinent cognitive, neuropsychological, and neurobiological evidence is reviewed, alternative classificatory schemes are discussed, and important conceptual and terminological issues are considered.

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