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Reexamination of Word Length Effect: Immediate Serial Recall of Foreign Words

Page No.: 
149
Writer(s): 
Junichiro Takeno, Chugokugakuen University; Ken Tamai, Kobe City University of Foreign Studies; Shigenobu Takatsuka, Okayama University

In this study we examined the word length effect—one characteristic of the phonological loop of working memory—in a foreign language. Serial position effects, such as the primacy effect and the recency effect, were observed in the recall of foreign words, similar to results in L1 studies. Recall of long (one-syllable) and short (three-syllable) words in pure (all long or all short) and mixed (long and short) lists was compared. In pure lists, there was a tendency for long words to be more poorly remembered than short words, which we considered to be because of the word length effect. In mixed lists, both long and short words were recalled equally as well as short words were recalled in pure lists. These results indicate that we should pay more attention to item distinctiveness, which elicits the attention of the central executive in working memory, as well as the word length effect in regards to rehearsal speed. Effective use of the phonological loop in listening comprehension is also discussed.

本研究は、ワーキングメモリモデルの音韻ループに見られる語長効果について再検討を試みたものである。外国語の単語記銘においても、母国語話者を対象とした研究と同じように初頭効果や新近性効果が確認された。単純リストと混合リストにおける長い語と短い語の再生率を比較したところ、単純リストでは、長い語は短い語よりも再生率が悪くなるという語長効果の傾向が見られるものの、混合リストにおいては、長い語も短い語も単純リストにおける短い語と同程度の再生率であった。これらの結果は、短期記憶容量は決められた項目数ではなく復唱速度が重要な要因であるという語長効果に基づく説明に加えて、ワーキングメモリの中央実行系に注意喚起を促す、項目の示差性などによる説明の必要性があることを示している。本研究では、聴解における音韻ループの効果的な活用についても論じている。

 
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