Spatially distributed stimuli show little effect of recency with either visual or auditory presentation
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The effect of recency-the superior recall of final as opposed to middle items in serial presentation—is usually greater for auditorily as opposed to visually presented stimuli. However, the standard method of presenting both visual and auditory stimuli consists of temporal presentation in a single location. Having used a new procedure, in which stimuli were spatially distributed, Battacchi, Pelamatti, and Umiltá (1990) reported a robust effect of visual recency in immediate serial recall, similar to that found with auditory stimuli. Their subjects were native speakers of Italian. To test and explain these findings, we performed three experiments with native speakers of English as subjects. The stimuli were letters of the alphabet and vowel-consonant syllables; presentations were both auditory and visual. The results suggest that the spatial distribution of stimuli does not produce a major recency effect in the visual modality and leads to a smaller recency effect with auditory stimuli than that usually found in the standard presentation condition. Finally, in Experiment 3, the use of native speakers of Italian as subjects demonstrated that the difference in the subjects’ language is not a factor in the discrepancy between our findings and those of Battacchi et al.
KeywordsAuditory Stimulus Serial Position Native Speaker Recency Effect Serial Recall
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