Perceptual-Gestural (Mis)Mapping in Serial Short-Term Memory: The Impact of Talker Variability

R.W. Hughes, J.E. Marsh, Dylan Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanisms underlying the poorer serial recall of talker-variable lists (e.g., alternating female–male voices) as compared with single-voice lists were examined. We tested the novel hypothesis that this talker variability effect arises from the tendency for perceptual organization to partition the list into streams based on voice such that the representation of order maps poorly onto the formation of a gestural sequence-output plan assembled in support of the reproduction of the true temporal order of the items. In line with the hypothesis, (a) the presence of a spoken lead-in designed to further promote by-voice perceptual partitioning accentuates the effect (Experiments 1 and 2); (b) the impairment is larger the greater the acoustic coherence is between nonadjacent items: Alternating-voice lists are more poorly recalled than four-voice lists (Experiment 3); and (c) talker variability combines nonadditively with phonological similarity, consistent with the view that both variables disrupt sequence output planning (Experiment 4). The results support the view that serial short-term memory performance reflects the action of sequencing processes embodied within general-purpose perceptual input-processing and gestural output-planning systems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1411-1425
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'Perceptual-Gestural (Mis)Mapping in Serial Short-Term Memory: The Impact of Talker Variability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this