Retroactive effects of irrelevant speech on serial recall from short-term memory

Dennis Norris, Alan Baddeley, Michael P A Page

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The authors report 5 serial-recall experiments. In 4 of the 5 experiments, they show that irrelevant sound (IS) has a retroactive effect on material already in memory. In Experiment 1, IS presented during a filled retention interval had a reliable effect on list recall. Four further experiments, 3 of which used retroactive IS, showed that IS continued to-have an effect on recall following a long, filled retention interval. Articulatory suppression during visual input was found to abolish the long-lasting, retroactive effect of IS, supporting the idea that IS affects the phonological-loop component of short-term memory. IS also, therefore, seems to affect a longer term memory system with which the loop interacts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1093-105
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Cues
  • Humans
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Mental Recall
  • Phonetics
  • Sound
  • Speech Perception
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Perception

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