No temporal decay in verbal short-term memory

Stephan Lewandowsky, K. Oberauer, Gordon Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Citations (Scopus)


Many models of short-term memory (STM) ascribe an important role to temporal decay and forgetting because of the passage of time alone. We argue against decay as the primary form of forgetting from STM, and suggest that new experimental methodologies and recent models provide new perspectives on the old issue of the causes of forgetting. We show that several classic sources of evidence for time-based forgetting can be re-interpreted in terms of an interference-based view, and that new experiments provide compelling evidence against decay. We conclude that progress requires moving beyond demonstrations of qualitative effects and focusing instead on testing quantitative predictions of models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-126
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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