Applied Cognitive Psychology

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Volume 13 Issue 4 (August 1999), Pages 297-396

Memory for everyday objects: where are the digits on numerical keypads? (pages 329-350)


Memory for the layout of the ten digits 0 to 9 on the keypads of push‐button telephones and calculators was investigated in five experiments. Experiments 1 and 2 revealed that, despite frequent usage of these devices, free recall of the numerical layouts is quite poor; and that the layout on calculators is even harder to recall than the telephone layout. Experiment 4 showed that the same is true for recognition of the layouts. Experiment 3 revealed that part of the recall advantage of the telephone layout can be attributed to its being more plausible and more similar to a schematic or prototypical layout of digits. Experiment 5 indicated that a single case of directing attention to the layouts can enhance recall significantly. The results are integrated into earlier research on memory for everyday objects, and concepts used in laboratory memory research such as interference, inference, and attention are used to explain memory for these everyday objects. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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