Word length effects are not due to proactive interference

Tehan, Gerald and Turcotte, Josée (2002) Word length effects are not due to proactive interference. Memory, 10 (2). pp. 139-150. ISSN 0965-8211

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Abstract

[Abstract]: In immediate serial recall short words are better recalled than long words. The word length effect has become pivotal in the development of short-term memory models. The current research tests one explanation of the word length effect; that it is related to proactive interference (PI). We report two experiments in which the relationship is directly tested. In the first experiment we show that word length effects can be observed over the first few trials in an experiment and that the effect shows itself primarily in the number of omissions made. In the second experiment we simultaneously test for PI and word length effects. Strong word length effects were present but there was little evidence for PI influencing either overall levels of recall or the word length effect. In short, no empirical support was found for PI as an explanation of the word length effect.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Authors' final version of the text made available in accordance with copyright policy of publisher.
Depositing User: Assoc Prof Gerry Tehan
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:54
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:41
Uncontrolled Keywords: word length, short-term memory, proactive interference
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170103 Educational Psychology
Identification Number or DOI: doi: 10.1080/09658210143000272
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/1960

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