Immediate serial recall, word frequency, item identity and item position.
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Eighteen subjects completed an immediate serial recall task, where the to-be-recalled lists consisted of either high, medium, or low-frequency items. Moreover, lists were either phonologically similar or distinct. Results showed that increasing frequency enhanced item information recall but had no effect on order recall. Conversely, increasing phonological similarity had a detrimental effect on order recall but no significant effect on item recall. It is argued that both effects reflect retrieval processes where degraded representations are reconstructed on the basis of long-term knowledge: Low-frequency words have reduced accessibility, lowering the probability of correct reconstruction, and phonologically similar items are more easily confused with other recall candidates.
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