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The Word-length Effect and Disyllabic Words

The Word-length Effect and Disyllabic Words,10.1080/027249800390646,Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A-human Experimental Psycholo

The Word-length Effect and Disyllabic Words   (Citations: 48)
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Three experiments compared immediate serial recall of disyllabic words that differed on spoken duration. Two sets of long- and short-duration words were selected, in each case maximizing duration differences but matching for frequency, familiarity, phonological simi- larity, and number of phonemes, and controlling for semantic associations. Serial recall measures were obtained using auditory and visual presentation and spoken and picture- pointing recall. In Experiments 1a and 1b, using the ®rst set of items, long words were better recalled than short words. In Experiments 2a and 2b, using the second set of items, no difference was found between long and short disyllabic words. Experiment 3 con®rmed the large advantage for short-duration words in the word set originally selected by Baddeley, Thomson, and Buchanan (1975). These ®ndings suggest that there is no reliable advantage for short-duration disyllables in span tasks, and that previous accounts of a word-length effect in disyllables are based on accidental differences between list items. The failure to ®nd an effect of word duration casts doubt on theories that propose that the capacity of memory span is determined by the duration of list items or the decay rate of phonological information in short-term memory. A cornerstone of the memory span literature is the ®nding that lists made up of long words are harder to recall than lists of short words. Baddeley, Thomson, and Buchanan (1975) investigated the effect of the syllabic length of list items on immediate serial recall and found that as the number of syllables in a word increased serial recall performance decreased. In addition, Baddeley et al. (1975) found that reading rate and articulation rate correlated positively with serial recall across subjects and materials. This suggested that the limiting factor in serial recall was the time taken to articulate the list items rather than the number of syllables. In order to separate the effects of syllabic length and articulation rate, Baddeley et al. selected two sets of disyllabic words, which were matched for frequency and number of phonemes but which differed in terms of their articulatory duration. In tests of immediate serial recall the lists made from words with a short articulatory duration were better recalled than those made from long words. This ®nding con®rmed that the articulatory duration of words determined memory span. The slope of
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    • ...Caplan, Rochon, and Waters (1992), Service (1998), Toland and Tehan (2005), Zhang and Feng (1990) and Lovatt, Avons, and Masterson (2000) did not replicate this result in English, Finnish, and Chinese...

    David Caplanet al. Slave systems in verbal short-term memory

    • ...Although controversy surrounds the time-based nature of word length effects in short-term memory (eg, Lovatt, Avons, & Masterson, 2000), it is clear that words containing more syllables take longer to produce during recall (eg, Cowan et al, 1994; Hulme et al, 1999)...

    Simon Farrellet al. Is scanning in probed order recall articulatory?

    • ...This effect is replicable with the same small set of words, but no effect, or even a reversed effect, is obtained with other sets of words constructed by the same principle (Lovatt, Avons, & Masterson, 2000)...

    Klaus Oberaueret al. Forgetting in Immediate Serial Recall: Decay, Temporal Distinctiveness...

    • ...Finally, Neath, Bireta, and Surprenant (2003) compared the stimuli used by Baddeley et al. (1975), Caplan et al. (1992), and Lovatt et al. (2000) within an identical methodology and replicated the precise pattern of variation of the WLE across stimuli...
    • ...Like Lovatt et al. (2000), Neath et al. reported a duration-based WLE for Baddeley et al.’s stimuli, a reverse WLE with Caplan et al.’s stimuli, and a null effect for the words used by Lovatt et al. (2000), and also for a novel set of stimuli...
    • ...Lest one think that item selection artifacts are rare, one must note that the conclusions by Lovatt et al. (2000, 2002) and Neath et al. (2003) do not represent an isolated occurrence: Within the word length arena, Bireta, Neath, and Surprenant (2006) showed that stimulus specificity also underlies certain manifestations of the syllable-based WLE...
    • ...Baddeley et al. (1975) were the first to report a memorial advantage for the shorter words, and their finding has been replicated repeatedly (Cowan et al., 1992; Longoni, Richardson, & Aiello, 1993; Lovatt, Avons, & Masterson, 2000; Nairne, Neath, & Serra, 1997)...
    • ...Lovatt et al. (2000) concluded that “there is no general effect of word duration on disyllabic-word recall, and . . . the differences originally observed arose as an accident of item selection” (p. 15)...

    Stephan Lewandowskyet al. The word-length effect provides no evidence for decay in short-term me...

    • ...The fact that rehearsal and other temporal explanations of the word-length effect are not able to account for the present results is consistent with some previous experiments in which long words (words that take more time to be articulated) were not recalled worse than short words (words that take less time to be articulated) when short and long words did not differ in number of phonemes (Caplan, Rochon, & Waters, 1992; Lovatt, Avons, & Masterson, 2000; Neath, Bireta, & Surprenant, 2003a; Service, 1998)...

    Guillermo Campoy. The effect of word length in short-term memory: Is rehearsal necessary...

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