The aim of the present research was to determine whether the effect that phonological similarity has on immediate serial recall is influenced by the consistency and position of phonemes within words. In comparison to phonologically dissimilar lists, when the stimulus lists rhyme there is a facilitative effect on the recall of item information and a detrimental effect on order memory (Experiment 1). When stimuli share the initial consonant and vowel (Experiment 2) or the same initial and final consonant (Experiment 3), there is no beneficial effect of similarity for item information, coupled with a detrimental effect on order memory. Contrary to the predictions made by non-linguistic models of STM, the influence that similarity has on both the recall of item information and memory for the position of items in a list is dependent on which components of the items are shared within a list. (C) 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.