Semantic Networks and Order Recall in Verbal Short-Term Memory

Marie PoirierCity University London
Jean Saint-AubinMoncton University
Ali MairCity University London
Gerry TehanUniversity of Southern Queensland
Anne TolanAustralian Catholic University

Abstract

In a recent paper, Acheson, MacDonald, and Postle (2011) made an important but controversial suggestion: They hypothesised that a) semantic information has an effect on order information in short-term memory (STM) and b) that order recall in STM is based on the level of activation of items within the relevant long-term memory (LTM) network. However, verbal STM research typically has led to the conclusion that factors such as semantic category have a large effect on the number of correctly recalled items and little or no significant impact on order recall (Poirier & Saint-Aubin, 1995; Tse, 2009). Both of the studies reported here tested the hypotheses advanced by Acheson et al. Results show that as predicted, manipulating the putative activation of list items significantly impacts the recall of item order.

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