Traveling economically through memory space: Characterizing output order in memory for serial order

Stephan Lewandowsky, Gordon Brown, J.L. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

How do people report the contents of short-term memory when information about order must be retained but items can be retrieved in any order? We report an experiment using an unconstrained reconstruction task in which people can report list items in any order but must place them in their correct serial positions. We found (1) a tendency to report recent items first in immediate but not in delayed reconstruction, (2) a tendency to recall temporally isolated items first, (3) a preference for forward recall order, and (4) a preference for output orders that minimize the length of the path that must be traversed through memory space during retrieval. The results constrain most current models of short-term memory in which retrieval is ballistic and is assumed to run to completion autonomously once initiated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-193
JournalMemory and Cognition
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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