Think before You Speak: Pauses, Memory Search, and Trace Redintegration Processes in Verbal Memory Span

Charles Hulme, Philip Newton, George Stuart, Nelson Cowan, Gordon Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Immediate memory span and speed of memory search were assessed for words and nonwords of short and long spoken duration. Memory span was substantially greater for words than for nonwords and for short than for long items, though speed of memory search was unaffected by either length or lexicality. An analysis of the temporal pattern of responses in the memory span task indicated that inter-item pauses were longer between nonwords than words but that these pause durations were unaffected by item length. A model of verbal short-term memory span is described in which trace selection from a short-term store and the redintegration (restoration) of degraded phonological traces both occur in the pauses between saying successive items. Both trace selection and trace redintegration appear to play important roles in accounting for individual differences in memory span.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-463
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes

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