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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Interference and coding processes in verbal and visual short-term memory Ternes, Willi


A detailed evaluation of short-term verbal and visual coding efficiency as a function of Interpolated activities, varying along the dimensions of attention and similarity, was undertaken in this research. The results show that retention losses due to attention demand changes are comparable in verbal and visual coding conditions, regardless of the modality of the Interpolated activity. In addition, retention losses are larger when the same modality is involved in processing the stimulus and Interpolated task. Retention losses are Interpreted as demonstrating a clear separation of short-term losses due to: a) attention diversion; and b) direct Interference, with attention diversion accounting for a larger part of total retention losses. The data further suggest that the maintenance of Information In verbal and visual STS relies to a large extent on the availability of the common central processing capacity, with modality specific coding processes determining the most appropriate coding mode for a given stimulus situation.

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