A phonological account for the cross-language variation in working memory processing

Him CHEUNG, Susan KEMPER, E. LEUNG

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Abstract

This study examines the relationship between immediate serial recall and word articulation rate with Cantonese and English materials. Using bilingual subjects, Experiment 1 reported a steeper regression function relating recall to word articulation rate for Cantonese than for English items. The effect of language on regression slopes was shown to hold both with and without concurrent articulation (i.e., subjects repeating irrelevant digits during list learning and recall, thus blocking any articulatory mechanisms), although it was significantly more pronounced in the latter condition. In Experiment 2, the effect of language on slopes was replicated in monolingual English speakers, using pseudowords that preserved the consonant-vowel structures of the Experiment 1 items. These findings indicate that (1) both articulatory and nonarticulatory processes contribute to the cross-language variation in regression slopes and (2) the language effect is attributable to a difference in consonant-vowel structures of the items from the two languages. It is concluded that the phonological loop model (Baddeley, 1986), which specifies an articulatory rehearsal process and a nonarticulatory phonological store, is applicable to cross-language working memory processing. Copyright © 2000 Association of Behavior Analysis International.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-386
JournalPsychological Record
Volume50
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2000

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Short-Term Memory
Language
Working Memory
Language Variation
Cross-language
Learning
Articulation
Experiment
Consonant

Citation

Cheung, H., Kemper, S., & Leung, E. (2000). A phonological account for the cross-language variation in working memory processing. The Psychological Record, 50(2), 373–386. doi: 10.1007/BF03395361