Effect of foreign accent on immediate serial recall

Kit Ying CHAN, Ming Ming CHIU, Brady A. DAILEY, Daroon M. JALIL

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This study disentangled factors contributing to impaired memory for foreign-accented words – misperception and disruption of encoding. When native English and Cantonese-accented words were presented auditorily for serial recall (Experiment 1), intrusion errors for accented words were higher across all serial positions (SPs). Participants made more intrusion errors during auditory presentation than visual and auditory presentation, and more errors for accented words than native words. Lengthening the interstimulus intervals in Experiment 2 reduced intrusion, repetition, order, and omission errors in the middle and late SPs during accented word recall, suggesting that extra time is required for identification and encoding of accented words into memory. Analyses of the intrusions showed that a majority of them were misperceptions and sounded similar to the stimulus words. These findings suggest that effortful perceptual processing of accented speech can induce perceptual difficulty and interfere with downstream memory processes by exhausting the shared pool of working memory. Copyright © 2019 Hogrefe Publishing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-57
JournalExperimental Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


Chan, K. Y., Chiu, M. M., Dailey, B. A., & Jalil, D. M. (2019). Effect of foreign accent on immediate serial recall. Experimental Psychology, 66(1), 40-57. doi: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000430


  • Serial recall
  • Foreign accent
  • Speech perception
  • Short-term memory
  • Listening effort


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