The phonological loop and the irrelevant speech effect: some comments on Neath (2000)

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Neath (2000) presents a useful overview of the evidence to be explained by any model of the effects of irrelevant speech on immediate serial memory and proposes a model accompanied by computational simulation. While his review is in general accurate, it is limited in its explanation of the crucial characteristics of the disrupting sounds. It also neglects strategic issues, particularly the tendency for subjects to switch strategy as list length increases. As a result, his model fails to account for the absence of an interaction between irrelevant speech and acoustic similarity for lists of span length. Points of issue between Neath's feature hypothesis and the phonological loop interpretation are outlined, and the contribution of his computational simulation is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-9
Number of pages6
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Auditory Perception
  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Memory
  • Mental Recall
  • Models, Psychological
  • Phonetics
  • Serial Learning
  • Speech
  • Visual Perception

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