Memory for Related and Unrelated Words: Further Evidence on the Influence of Semantic Factors in Immediate Serial Recall Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • A number of recent studies have explored the role of long-term memory factors in memory span tasks. The effects of lexicality, frequency, imageability, and word class have been investigated. The work reported in this paper examined the effect of semantic organization on the recall of short lists of words. Specifically, the influence of semantic category on immediate serial recall and the interaction of this variable with articulatory suppression was investigated in three experiments. Experiment 1 compared immediate serial recall performance when lists comprising items from the same semantic category were used (homogeneous condition) with a situation where lists held items from different semantic categories. Experiment 2 examined the same conditions with and without articulatory suppression during item presentation, and Experiment 3 reproduced these conditions with suppression occurring throughout presentation and recall. Results of all three experiments showed a clear advantage for the homogeneous condition. Experiments 2 and 3 showed that the homogeneous category advantage did not depend on the articulatory loop. Furthermore, error analysis indicated that this effect was mainly attributable to better item information recall for the homogeneous condition. These results are interpreted as reflecting a long-term memory contribution to the recall stage of immediate serial recall tasks.

publication date

  • May 1995