Updating tasks require participants to process a sequence of items, varying in length, and afterwards to remember only a fixed number of the elements of the sequence; the assumption being that participants actively update the to-be-recalled list as presentation progresses. However recent evidence has cast doubt on this assumption, and the present study examined the strategies that participants employ in such tasks by comparing the serial position curves found in verbal and visuo-spatial updating tasks with those seen in standard serial recall tasks. These comparisons showed that even when the same number of items are presented or recalled, participants perform less well in an updating than a serial recall context. In addition, while standard serial position effects were observed for serial recall, marked recency and reduced or absent primacy effects were seen in updating conditions. These findings suggest that participants do not typically adopt a strategy of actively updating the memory list in updating tasks, but instead tend to wait passively until the list ends before trying to recall the most recently presented items.
|Translated title of the contribution||Do updating tasks involve updating? Evidence from comparisons with immediate serial recall|
|Pages (from-to)||392 - 399|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2008|