No temporal decay in verbal short-term memory

Stephan Lewandowsky*, Klaus Oberauer, Gordon D. A. Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

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

155 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many models of short-term memory (STM) ascribe an important role to temporal decay and forgetting because of the passage of time alone. We argue against decay as the primary form of forgetting from STM, and suggest that new experimental methodologies and recent models provide new perspectives on the old issue of the causes of forgetting. We show that several classic sources of evidence for time-based forgetting can be reinterpreted in terms of an interference-based view, and that new experiments provide compelling evidence against decay. We conclude that progress requires moving beyond demonstrations of qualitative effects and focusing instead on testing quantitative predictions of models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-126
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009

Structured keywords

  • Cognitive Science

Keywords

  • IMMEDIATE SERIAL-RECALL
  • WORKING-MEMORY
  • PROACTIVE-INTERFERENCE
  • WORD-LENGTH
  • PHONOLOGICAL COMPLEXITY
  • ARTICULATORY DURATION
  • MODEL
  • TIME
  • REHEARSAL
  • RETENTION

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