Phonological Similarity Effects in Simple and Complex Word Spans

Winston D Goh, Roopali Misra

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Paper published in Proceedingspeer-review


Memory span for a list of phonologically similar words is
generally worse than memory span for a list of phonologically
dissimilar words, a finding that is called the phonological
similarity effect. This finding has often been cited as
evidence for the use of phonological coding in short-term
memory and working memory. However, some studies have
demonstrated a reversal of the phonological similarity effect
under certain conditions. One such condition is the use of
more complex memory span tasks such as reading span. It
has been suggested that sentence contexts may provide
additional retrieval cues that may overcome the detrimental
effects of phonological similarity. The present study
examined this hypothesis by manipulating the sentence
contexts of the reading span materials. No evidence showing
phonological similarity facilitation was found; in fact, the
standard phonological similarity decrement in recall was
observed with high context sentences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhonological Similarity Effects in Simple and Complex Word Spans
PublisherUC Merced School of Natural Sciences
Pages1829 - 1834
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


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