We study the contribution of implicit relatedness to associative recognition in two experiments. In the first experiment, we showed an implicit improvement in recognition when the stimulus elements of each word pair shared common letters and they were unpaired at test. Moreover, when asked to study the stimuli under divided attention, recollection was affected, but not the effect of perceptual familiarity. In a second experiment, we replicated the effect of divided attention, and we showed that it did not affect the familiarity measured by a choice test at the item level. Overall, both experiments indicated that familiarity acts by unitizing the association, and not simply by establishing some sort of implicit cued recall (recollection).