The Dynamics of Access to Groups in Working Memory

Simon Farrell*, Anna Lelievre

*Corresponding author for this work

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

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The finding that participants leave a pause between groups when attempting serial recall of temporally grouped lists has been taken to indicate access to a hierarchical representation of the list in working memory. An alternative explanation is that the dynamics of serial recall solely reflect output (rather than memorial) processes, with the temporal pattern at input merely suggesting a basis for the pattern of output buffering. Three experiments are presented here that disentangle input structure from output buffering in serial recall. In Experiment I, participants were asked to recall a subset of visually presented digits from a temporally grouped list in their original order, where either within-group position or group position was kept constant. In Experiment 2, participants performed more standard serial recall of spoken digits, and input and output position were dissociated by asking participants to initiate recall from a post-cued position in the list. In Experiment 3, participants were asked to serially recall temporally grouped lists of visually presented digits where the grouping structure was unpredictable, under either articulatory suppression or silent conditions. The 3 experiments point to a tight linkage between implied memorial structures (i.e., the pattern of grouping at encoding) and the output structure implied by retrieval times and call into question a purely motoric account of the dynamics of recall.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1659-1674
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Volume38
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

Structured keywords

  • Memory

Keywords

  • SHORT-TERM-MEMORY
  • TIME
  • recall latencies
  • short-term memory
  • HIERARCHICAL CONTROL
  • ORDER MEMORY
  • VERBAL MEMORY
  • RETRIEVAL
  • PERCEPTUAL ORGANIZATION
  • working memory
  • grouping
  • serial recall
  • NETWORK MODEL
  • IMMEDIATE SERIAL-RECALL
  • PRECATEGORICAL ACOUSTIC STORAGE

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