Psychological Research

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 80–87 | Cite as

Comparisons of memory for nonverbal auditory and visual sequential stimuli

  • Dennis J. McFarland
  • Anthony T. Cacace
Original Article


Properties of auditory and visual sensory memory were compared by examining subjects' recognition performance of randomly generated binary auditory sequential frequency patterns and binary visual sequential color patterns within a forced-choice paradigm. Experiment 1 demonstrated serial-position effects in auditory and visual modalities consisting of both primacy and recency effects. Experiment 2 found that retention of auditory and visual information was remarkably similar when assessed across a 10 s interval. Experiments 3 and 4, taken together, showed that the recency effect in sensory memory is affected more by the type of response required (recognition vs. reproduction) than by the sensory modality employed. These studies suggest that auditory and visual sensory memory stores for nonverbal stimuli share similar properties with respect to serial-position effects and persistence over time.


Visual Information Sensory Modality Recognition Performance Recency Effect Frequency Pattern 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis J. McFarland
    • 1
  • Anthony T. Cacace
    • 2
  1. 1.Wadsworth Center for Laboratories and ResearchNew York State Department of HealthAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Surgery and NeurologyAlbany Medical CollegeAlbanyUSA

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