All parts of an item are not equal: Effects of phonological redundancy on immediate recall
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The process of redintegration is thought to use top-down knowledge to repair partly damaged memory traces. We explored redintegration in the immediate recall of lists from a limited pool of partly phonologically redundant pseudowords. In Experiment 1, four kinds of stimuli were created by adding the syllable /ne/ to two-syllable pseudowords, either to the middle (/tepa/ vs. /tenepa/) or to the end (/tepane/), or adding a different syllable to each item (/tepalo/, /vuropi/). The repeated syllable was thought to be available for redintegration. Lists of two-syllable pseudowords were recalled best, items with a redundant end were intermediate, and items with a redundant middle-syllable were as hard as nonredundant three-syllable items. In Experiment 2, the last syllable was predictable from context but not shared between all stimuli, reducing phonological similarity between items. Performance did not differ from the situation with identicallast syllables. In Experiment 3, a shared first syllable had a detrimental effecton memory. An error analysis showed that beneficial redundancy effects were accompanied by harmful similarity effects, impairing memory for nonredundant syllables. The balance between the two effects depended on syllable position.
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