This article applies to:
Experiment Author: Adapted from STEP and used with permission of Brian MacWhinney
This experiment replicates Condition A of Part I of Baddeley’s experiment, which tested whether acoustic similarity had an effect on recall. The experiment sequence from which this experiment was drawn showed that items in short-term memory were stored by their sounds rather than by their meanings.
The experiment presents lists of words, then asks participants to recall those words in order. Whether the words are or are not acoustically similar is varied.
Baddeley, A. D. (1966). Short-term memory for word sequences as a function of acoustic, semantic, and formal similarity. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 362-365. (See PDF file below).
Experiment Abstract or Original Experiment Abstract
Experiment I studied short-term memory (STM) for auditorily presented five word sequences as a function of acoustic and semantic similarity. There was a large adverse effect of acoustic similarity on STM (72.5 per cent.) which was significantly greater (p < 0.001) than the small (6.3 per cent.) but reliable effect (p < 0.05) of semantic similarity.
Experiment II compared STM for sequences of words which had a similar letter structure (formal similarity) but were pronounced differently, with acoustically similar but formally dissimilar words and with control sequences. There was a significant effect of acoustic but not of formal similarity.
Experiment III replicated the acoustic similarity effect found in Experiment I using visual instead of auditory presentation. Again a large and significant effect of acoustic similarity was shown.
Works Cited by the Study
Baddeley, A. D. (1966). The influence of acoustic and semantic similarity on long-term memory for word sequences. Quart. J. exp. Psychol., 18, 302-9.
Baddeley, A. D. and Dale, H. C. A. (1966). The effect of semantic similarity on retro-active interference in long- and short-term memory. J. verb. Learn., verb. Behav. (in press).
Conrad, R. (1963). Acoustic confusions and memory span for words. Nature, 197, 1029-30.
Conrad, R. (1964). Acoustic confusion and immediate memory. Brit. J. Psychol., 55, 75-84.
Horowitz, L. M. (1961). Free recall and ordering of trigrams. J. exp. Psychol., 62, 51-7.
Thorndike, E. L., and Lorge, I. (1944). The Teacher's Word Book of 30,000 Words. New York, Teachers' College, Columbia University.
Underwood, B. J. (1951). Studies of distributed practice: II. Learning and retention of paired-adjective lists with two levels of intra-list similarity. J. exp. Psychol., 42, 153-61.
Underwood, B. J. and Goad, D. (1951). Studies of distributed practice: I. The influence of intra-list similarity in serial learning. J. exp. Psychol., 42, 125-34.