British Journal of Psychology

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Volume 86 Issue 4 (November 1995), Pages 449-559

The role of long‐term memory mechanisms in memory span (pages 527-536)

We present an experiment relating memory span for words and non‐words of differing spoken lengths to speech rate. Linear functions related memory span to speech rate for both words and non‐words. Recall of non‐words, however, is substantially worse than for words and this difference is not attributable to differences in speech rate. Familiarizing subjects with the pronunciations of the nonwords increased memory span for them and these improvements in recall were also, at least partially, independent of changes in speech rate. The results are interpreted as evidence for a separable influence of long‐term memory on immediate memory span performance.

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