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Title: Examining the similarities between immediate serial recall and immediate free recall : the effects of list length and output order
Author: Grenfell-Essam, Rachel
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis examines the similarities and differences between two widely-used immediate memory tasks: immediate serial recall (ISR) and immediate free recall (IFR). Until recently these two tasks were explained by separate theories, but recent researchers have encouraged greater integration by showing considerable similarities under identical list lengths (LL) and methods. Eight experiments are presented in three chapters. Chapter 2 examines strategy use in the two tasks. Participants were shown not to use LL-specific strategies in IFR (Experiment 1) or ISR (Experiment 2). Indeed, encoding strategy use was similar in both tasks: participants showed no effect of test-expectancy (Experiment 3). These findings show that participants encode ISR and IFR in similar ways, irrespective of knowledge of the LL, and that differences between the tasks are due to retrieval. Chapter 3 examines why participants tend to initiate IFR of short lists with the first word in the list. I looked at three putative mechanisms for generating the primacy effect in IFR: covert rehearsal (Experiment 4), selective attention (Experiment 5), and temporal distinctiveness (Experiment 6). I found that no manipulation abolished primacy. Chapter 4 showed similar effects of modality (Experiment 7) and temporal isolation (Experiment 8) on ISR and IFR when examined under the same methodology. In summary, this thesis has shown that when LL is equated ISR and IFR are more similar than previously thought. Due to the growing evidence that both tasks are underpinned by common memory mechanisms I conclude that there is a need for greater theoretical integration between the two tasks. I relate my results to different theories of ISR and IFR, and provide a verbal description of a preferred explanation of the data.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available