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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Words and pictures in a short-term memory task Ternes, Willi


The following series of experiments was designed to investigate verbal and visual coding differences for visually presented words and their corresponding pictures in a STM task. Results show that verbal and visual short-term coding depends on task requirements. In a free recall situation, words and pictures have to be labelled for the response task, and subsequent recall scores reflect verbal coding in both conditions. If verbal coding of pictures can be reduced, as in a recognition task, evidence for verbal and visual short-term coding processes can be obtained in conjunction with verbal interference and rehearsal activities during the retention interval. The damaging effects of verbal interference and the facilitative effects of verbal rehearsal for the verbal short-term store have been reconfirmed in this experiment. The same interpolated activities, in contrast, have been shown to exert an undifferentiated effect on the visual short-term store. The data are interpreted as supporting previous findings of the verbal short-term store characteristics. In contrast, the picture recognition data seem indicative of a visual short-term store. In contrast to the verbal store, however, the visual store shows a lack of, or at least an ineffective rehearsal mechanism in the given experimental situation.

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