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Why do participants initiate free recall of short lists of words with the first list item?: Toward a general episodic memory explanation

Spurgeon, J and Ward, G and Matthews, WJ (2014) 'Why do participants initiate free recall of short lists of words with the first list item?: Toward a general episodic memory explanation.' Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition, 40 (6). 1551 - 1567. ISSN 0278-7393

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Abstract

© 2014 American Psychological Association. Participants who are presented with a short list of words for immediate free recall (IFR) show a strong tendency to initiate their recall with the 1st list item and then proceed in forward serial order. We report 2 experiments that examined whether this tendency was underpinned by a short-term memory store, of the type that is argued by some to underpin recency effects in IFR. In Experiment 1, we presented 3 groups of participants with lists of between 2 and 12 words for IFR, delayed free recall, and continuousdistractor free recall. The to-be-remembered words were simultaneously spoken and presented visually, and the distractor task involved silently solving a series of self-paced, visually presented mathematical equations (e.g., 3 + 2 + 4 = ?). The tendency to initiate recall at the start of short lists was greatest in IFR but was also present in the 2 other recall conditions. This finding was replicated in Experiment 2, where the to-be-remembered items were presented visually in silence and the participants spoke aloud their answers to computer-paced mathematical equations. Our results necessitate that a short-term buffer cannot be fully responsible for the tendency to initiate recall from the beginning of a short list; rather, they suggest that the tendency represents a general property of episodic memory that occurs across a range of time scales.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Users 161 not found.
Date Deposited: 14 May 2014 11:53
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2019 11:16
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/9351

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