Theoretical Implications of Articulatory Duration, Phonological Similarity, and Phonological Complexity in Verbal Working Memory

  • Mueller S
  • Seymour T
  • Kieras D
 et al. 
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The phonological-loop model provides a prominent theoretical description of verbal working memory. According to it, serial recall accuracy should be inversely related to the articulatory duration and phonological similarity of verbal items in memorized sequences. Initial tests of these predictions by A. D. Baddeley and colleagues (e.g., A. D. Baddeley, N. Thomson, & M. Buchanan, 1975) appeared to support the phonological-loop model, but subsequent researchers have obtained conflicting data that putatively disconfirm its assumptions. Such conflicts may have stemmed from less than ideal measurements of articulatory duration and phonological similarity. This article discusses these concerns and proposes new theoretically principled methods for measuring articulatory duration and phonological similarity. Two experiments that used these methods in the context of a verbal serial recall task are reported. The results of these experiments confirm and extend the predictions of the phonological-loop model while disarming previous criticisms of it.

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  • Shane T. Mueller

  • Travis L. Seymour

  • David E. Kieras

  • David E. Meyer

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