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Experiment Author: Susan Campbell Adapted from STEP and used with permission of Brian MacWhinney
This experiment presents participants with a circle of letters, some of which have been cued, and the participants are expected to decide whether an "S" or a "C" appears in the cued area. Four variables are manipulated between trials: how long before the letters appear that the cue appears, number of positions in the circle cued, whether there are distractors ("S" or "C") present outside the cue area, and how far those distractors are from the display area.
The interactions of these four variables should show that attention has a focus, but that that focus bleeds out into the area around it. Competing letters should slow processing more the closer they are to the cued area.
The smaller version cues one position in a line of letters and sees whether the cued letter is named faster.
Participants will be shown a letter, then a series of 21 words. At the end of each string of words, participnts recall the last word beginning with the target letter. This process will repeat 27 times. A keyboard is required to respond.
Craik, F.I.M., & Watkins, M.J. (1973). The role of rehearsal in short-term memory. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 12, 599-607.
Cited Experiment Abstract
Several widely accepted models of memory postulate that the adequacy of an items registration in long-term storage is a positive function of its length of stay in the short-term store. However, when short-term storage times were measured, these times did not predict long-term recall or recognition. Two further experiments showed that neither the length of an item’s stay in short-term storage nor the number of overt rehearsals it received was related to subsequent recall. It is concluded that the “maintenance” and “elaborative” aspects of rehearsal can be clearly separated, and that the duration of rehearsal is related to long-term memory and learning only in the latter case. Maintenance rehearsal does not lead to an improvement in memory performance.
Works Cited by the Experiment
Atkinson, R.C., & Shiffrin, R.M. Human memory: A proposed system and its control processes. In K.W. Spence & J.T. Spence (Eds.) The psychology of learning and motivation. New York: Academic Press, 1968. Vol. 2, pp.89-195.
Bjork, R.A. Repetition and rehearsal mechanisms in models for short-term memory. In D.A. Norman (Ed.) Models of human memory. New York: Academic Press, 1970. Pp. 307-330.
Cooper, E.H., & Pantle, A.J. The total-time hypothesis in verbal learning. Psychological Bulletin, 1967, 68, 221-234.
Craik, F.I.M. The fate of primary memory items in free recall. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1970, 9, 143-148.
Craik, F.I.M., Gardiner, J.M., & Watkins, M.J. Further evidence for a negative recency effect in free recall. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1970, 9, 554-560.
Craik, F.I.M., & Lockhart, R.S. Levels of processing: A framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1972, 11, 671-684.
Glanzer, M., & Meinzer, A. The effects of intralist activity on free recall. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1967, 6, 928-935.
Jacoby, L.L. Encoding processes, rehearsal, and recall requirements. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1973, 12, 302-310.
Jacoby, L.L., & Bartz, W.H. Rehearsal and transfer to LTM. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1972, 11, 561-565.
Meunier, G.F., Ritz, D., & Meunier, J.A. Rehearsal of individual items in short-term memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1972, 95, 465-467.
Norman, D.A., & Rumelhart, D.E. A system for perception and memory. D.A. Norman (Ed.) Models of human memory. New York: Academic Press, 1970, Pp. 21-64.
Rundus, D. Analysis of rehearsal processes in free recall. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1971, 89, 63-77.
Rundus, D., & Atkinson, R.C. Rehearsal processes in free recall: A procedure for direct observation. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1970, 9, 99-105.
Tulving, E. Subjective organization and effects of repetition in multitrial free-recall learning. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1966, 5, 193-197.
Tulving, E., & Colotla, V. Free recall of trilingual lists. Cognitive Psychology, 1970, 1, 86-98.
Waugh, N.C. Immediate memory as a function of repetition. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1963, 2, 107-112.
Waugh, N.C. On the effective duration of a repeated word. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1970, 9, 587-595.
Waugh, N.C., & Norman, D.A. Primary memory. Psychological Review, 1965, 72, 89-104.
Watkins, M.J., & Watkins, O.C. Processing of recency items for free recall. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1974 (in press).
STEP: Depth of Processing and the Retention of Words in Episodic Memory 
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