Short- and long-term memory contributions to immediate serial recognition: evidence from serial position effects

HRM Purser, C Jarrold

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

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A long-standing body of research supports the existence of separable short- and long-term memory systems, relying on phonological and semantic codes, respectively. The aim of the current study was to measure the contribution of long-term knowledge to short-term memory performance by looking for evidence of phonologically and semantically coded storage within a short-term recognition task, among developmental samples. Each experimental trial presented 4-item lists. In Experiment 1 typically developing children aged 5 to 6 years old showed evidence of phonologically coded storage across all 4 serial positions, but evidence of semantically coded storage at Serial Positions 1 and 2. In a further experiment, a group of individuals with Down syndrome was investigated as a test case that might be expected to use semantic coding to support short-term storage, but these participants showed no evidence of semantically coded storage and evidenced phonologically coded storage only at Serial Position 4, suggesting that individuals with Down syndrome have a verbal short-term memory capacity of 1 item. Our results suggest that previous evidence of semantic effects on “short-term memory performance” does not reflect semantic coding in short-term memory itself, and provide an experimental method for researchers wishing to take a relatively pure measure of verbal short-term memory capacity, in cases where rehearsal is unlikely.
Translated title of the contributionShort- and long-term memory contributions to immediate serial recognition: evidence from serial position effects
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679 - 693
Number of pages15
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Volume63
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Structured keywords

  • Developmental

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