By the same authors

From the same journal

Is the phonological similarity effect in working memory due to proactive interference?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Full text download(s)



Publication details

JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
DateAccepted/In press - 1 Oct 2017
Original languageEnglish


Immediate serial recall of verbal material is highly sensitive to impairment due to phonological similarity. While this has traditionally been interpreted as a within-sequence similarity effect, Engle (2007) proposed an interpretation based on interference from prior sequences, a phenomenon analogous to that found in the Peterson short-term memory task. We use the method of serial reconstruction to test this in an experiment contrasting the standard paradigm in which successive sequences are drawn from the same set of phonologically similar or dissimilar words and one in which the vowel sound on which similarity is based is switched from trial to trial, a manipulation analogous to that producing release from PI in the Peterson task. A substantial similarity effect occurs under both conditions although there is a small advantage from switching across similar sequences. There is however, no evidence for the suggestion that the similarity effect will be absent from the very first sequence tested. Our results support the within-sequence similarity rather than a between-list PI interpretation. Reasons for the contrast with the classic Peterson short-term forgetting task are briefly discussed.

Bibliographical note

This is an author-produced version of a paper accepted for publication. Uploaded with permission of the publisher/copyright holder. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

    Research areas

  • Working memory, Short-term memory, serial reconstruction, phonological similarity, proactive interference

Discover related content

Find related publications, people, projects, datasets and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations