Verbal short-term memory as an articulatory system: Evidence from an alternative paradigm


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In a series of seven experiments, the role of articulatory rehearsal in violent short-term memory was examined via a shadowing-plus-recall paradigm. In this paradigm, subjects shadowed a word target presented closely after an auditory memory list before they recalled the list. The phonological relationship between the shadowing target and the final item on the memory list was manipulated. Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrated that targets sounding similar to the list-final memory item generally took longer to shadow than unrelated targets. This inhibitory effect of phonological relatedness was more pronounced with tense-than lax-vowel pseudoword recall lists. The interaction between vowel tenseness and phonological relatedness was replicated in Experiment 3 using shorter lists of real words. In Experiment 4, concurrent articulation was applied during list learning to block rehearsal; consequently, neither the phonological relatedness effect nor its interaction with vowel tenseness emerged. Experiments 5 and 6 manipulated the occurrence frequencies and lexicality of the recall items, respectively, instead of vowel tenseness. Unlike vowel tenseness, these non-articulatory memory factors failed to interact with the phonological relatedness effect. Experiment 7 orthogonally manipulated the vowel tenseness and frequencies of the recall items; slowing in shadowing times due to phonological relatedness was modulated by vowel tenseness but not frequency. Taken together, these results suggest that under the present paradigm, the modifying effect of vowel tenseness on the magnitude of slowing in shadowing due to phonological relatedness is indicative of a prominent articulatory component in verbal short-term retention. The shadowing-plus-recall approach avoids confounding overt recall into internal memory processing, which is an inherent problem of the traditional immediate serial recall and span tasks. Copyright © 2002 The Experimental Psychology Society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-223
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2002


Cheung, H., & Wooltorton, L. (2002). Verbal short-term memory as an articulatory system: Evidence from an alternative paradigm. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 55(1), 195-223. doi: 10.1080/02724980143000244


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