Dissimilar items benefit from phonological similarity in serial recall

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45 Citations (Scopus)


In short-term serial recall, similar sounding items are remembered less well than items that do not sound alike. This phonological similarity effect has been observed with lists composed only of similar items, and also with lists that mix together similar and dissimilar items. An additional consistent finding has been what the authors call dissimilar immunity, the finding that ordered recall of dissimilar items is the same whether these items occur in pure dissimilar or mixed lists. The authors present 3 experiments that disconfirm these previous findings by showing that dissimilar items on mixed lists are recalled better than their counterparts on pure lists if order errors are considered separately from intrusion errors (Experiment 1), or if intrusion errors are experimentally controlled (Experiments 2 and 3). The memory benefit for dissimilar items on mixed lists poses a challenge for current models of short-term serial recall.
Translated title of the contributionDissimilar items benefit from phonological similarity in serial recall
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)838 - 849
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003

Bibliographical note

Publisher: American Psychological Association

Structured keywords

  • Cognitive Science


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