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The long-term consequences of retrieval demands during working memory

Loaiza, Vanessa M and Doherty, Charlotte and Howlett, Paul (2021) 'The long-term consequences of retrieval demands during working memory.' Memory and Cognition, 49 (1). pp. 112-126. ISSN 0090-502X

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Although it is well known that distraction impairs immediate retrieval of items maintained in working memory (WM; e.g., during complex span tasks), some evidence suggests that these items are more likely to be recalled from episodic memory (EM) compared with items that were studied without any distraction (e.g., during simple span tasks). One account for this delayed advantage of complex span over simple span, or the McCabe effect (McCabe, Journal of Memory and Language, 58[2], 480–494, 2008), is that complex span affords covert retrieval opportunities that facilitate later retrieval from EM by cumulatively reactivating each successively presented item after distraction. This explanation focuses on the processing that occurs during presentation and maintenance of the items, but no work to date has explored whether the differential demands of immediate retrieval between simple and complex span may explain the effect. Accordingly, these experiments examined the impact of immediate retrieval demands on the McCabe effect by comparing typical immediate serial-recall instructions (i.e., recalling the words in their exact order of presentation) to immediate free-recall (Experiments 1–2) and no-recall (Experiments 2 and 3) instructions. The results suggested that the nature of retrieval may constrain the McCabe effect in some situations (Experiments 1–2), but its demands do not drive the McCabe effect given that it was observed in both serial-recall and no-recall conditions (Experiment 3). Instead, activities such as covert retrieval during the processing phase may underlie the McCabe effect, thus further evidencing the importance of processing in WM for the long-term retention of information.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Complex span; Simple span; Working memory; Episodic memory; Retrieval
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2020 15:47
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 12:25

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