Phonological effects in forward and backward serial recall: qualitative and quantitative differences

Ritchie, Gabrielle and Tolan, Georgina Anne and Tehan, Gerald and Goh, Hong Eng and Guerard, Katherine and Saint-Aubin, Jean (2015) Phonological effects in forward and backward serial recall: qualitative and quantitative differences. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69 (1). pp. 95-103. ISSN 1196-1961


Forward serial recall is affected by a diverse range of phonological factors that are readily replicated and relatively well understood. In contrast with backward recall, these phonological effects are not consistently replicable in that some studies show that the effects are present and some show the effects are absent or severely attenuated. Moreover at the theoretical level there is no consensus about how participants perform backward recall. The current research was aimed at understanding the differences between forward and backward recall by using meta-analytic techniques on 16 previously published experiments that examined the effects of benchmark phonological factors on both forward and backward recall. In each of the studies, recall was decomposed into 2 components, the first 2 items output and the remaining later responses. A consistent pattern emerged in the data. Each effect was present in both the early and late output positions in forward recall. The effects were present in the late output positions in backward recall, but the effects were weaker than in forward recall. The phonological variables had little impact on early output in backward recall (with the exceptions of articulatory suppression). The presence of qualitative differences between forward and backward recall and quantitative differences between studies have implications for the theoretical understanding of direction of recall in immediate memory tasks.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2014 Canadian Psychological Association. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2015 00:01
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2016 01:31
Uncontrolled Keywords: serial recall; forward recall; backward recall; short-term memory; irrelevant speech; phonological similarity; meta-analysis
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1702 Cognitive Sciences > 170201 Computer Perception, Memory and Attention
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2004 Linguistics > 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl. Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics)
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170110 Psychological Methodology, Design and Analysis
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1037/cep0000028

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