Erasure or partitioning in short-term memory
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The possibility of erasure or partitioning in short-term memory was studied by instructing Ss to retrieve by free recall only 10 relevant letters embedded in a sequence of 20 visually presented letters. In the pre-cuing condition, irrelevant letters were indicated by a preceding blank, while in the post-cuing condition, irrelevant letters were indicated by a following blank. There was no difference in free recall under pre-cuing and post-cuing conditions, although free recall in both was better than chance. Free recall in a cueless control condition with irrelevant letters removed was better than in either pre- or post-cuing conditions. Analysis of errors suggests that irrelevant items were treated by partitioning or tagging in both cuing conditions, rather than by erasure, because cued-out letters occurred as errors of commission significantly more often than did letters which were not presented.