Content-specificity in verbal recall: A randomized controlled study

Jan Zirk-Sadowski, Denes Szucs, Joni Holmes

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In this controlled experiment we examined whether there are content effects in verbal short-term memory and working memory for verbal stimuli. Thirty-seven participants completed forward and backward digit and letter recall tasks, which were constructed to control for distance effects between stimuli. A maximum-likelihood mixed-effects logistic regression revealed main effects of direction of recall (forward vs backward) and content (digits vs letters). There was an interaction between type of recall and content, in which the recall of digits was superior to the recall of letters in verbal short-term memory but not in verbal working memory. These results demonstrate that the recall of information from verbal short-term memory is content-specific, whilst the recall of information from verbal working memory is content-general.
Original languageEnglish
Article number e79528
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2013

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