From brief gaps to very long pauses: Temporal isolation does not benefit serial recall

Lisa M. Nimmo, Stephan Lewandowsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Theoretical explanations of short-term memory for serial order can be classified on the basis of whether or not they invoke time as a causal variable. According to time-based accounts, such as temporal distinctiveness theories, there is an intimate link between time and memory. Event-based theories, by contrast, postulate processes such as interference or rehearsal to account for seemingly temporal phenomena in short-term memory. We report an experiment that examined whether extended temporal isolation benefits serial recall performance. Regardless of whether the participants were quiet or performed articulatory suppression during list presentation, temporal isolation did not benefit memory even if items were separated from their neighbors by up to 7 sec. These findings challenge time-based theories of short-term memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1004
Number of pages6
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Volume12
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005

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