Individual differences in phonological learning and verbal STM span
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A relationship between phonological short-term memory tasks (e.g., nonword repetition, digit span) and vocabulary learning in both experimental and real-life conditions has been reported in numerous studies. A mechanism that would explain this correlation is, however, not known. The present study explores the possibility that it is the quality of phonological representations that affects both short-term recall and long-term learning of novel wordlike items. In Experiment 1, groups with relatively good and poor span for pseudowords were established. The good group was found to perform better at explicit memory tasks tapping the incidental learning of a limited stimulus pool used in an auditory immediate serial pseudoword recall task. In Experiment 2, the results of Experiment 1 were replicated when experience of correct recall was controlled. In Experiment 3, the immediate recall performance of the good group was found to benefit more than that of the poor group from syllable repetition within stimulus pools. It is concluded that the efficiency of a process that creates phonological representations is related both to short-term capacity for verbal items, and to long-term phonological learning of the structure of novel phonological items.
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