Psychonomic Science

, Volume 3, Issue 1–12, pp 429–430 | Cite as

Erasure or partitioning in short-term memory

  • W. Stanley Muther
Human Learning and Thinking


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.


False Alarm Free Recall Relevant Item Blank Space Preliminary Processing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Press 1965

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Stanley Muther
    • 1
  1. 1.Stanford UniversityUSA

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