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Semantic contribution to verbal short-term memory: are pleasant words easier to remember than neutral words in serial recall and serial recognition?



Semantic contribution to verbal short-term memory: are pleasant words easier to remember than neutral words in serial recall and serial recognition?



Memory and Cognition 36(1): 35-42



In the four experiments reported here, we examined the role of word pleasantness on immediate serial recall and immediate serial recognition. In Experiment 1, we compared verbal serial recall of pleasant and neutral words, using a limited set of items. In Experiment 2, we replicated Experiment 1 with an open set of words (i.e., new items were used on every trial). In Experiments 3 and 4, we assessed immediate serial recognition of pleasant and neutral words, using item sets from Experiments 1 and 2. Pleasantness was found to have a facilitation effect on both immediate serial recall and immediate serial recognition. This study supplies some new supporting arguments in favor of a semantic contribution to verbal short-term memory performance. The pleasantness effect observed in immediate serial recognition showed that, contrary to a number of earlier findings, performance on this task can also turn out to be dependent on semantic factors. The results are discussed in relation to nonlinguistic and psycholinguistic models of short-term memory.

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Accession: 055707554

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 18323060

DOI: 10.3758/mc.36.1.35


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