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Kseniya Absatova 1, Andrei Kurgansky 1
  • 1 Russian Academy of Education, 8/2 Pogodinskaya street, Moscow,119121, Russia

Does the Way we Memorize Information Depend on the Way We are Going to Use It?

2016. Vol. 13. No. 1. P. 177–191 [issue contents]

Existing research has shown modality-specific differences in short-term memory performance. Almost all previous studies have manipulated the input information without considering the way it will be used at output. In the current study, participants memorized spatially ordered arrays of letter-like shapes simultaneously shown on a screen, and recalled the stimuli by (i) drawing them on a sheet of paper, (ii) typing them on a keyboard according to a specified item-to-key map, and (iii) pronouncing them aloud using an item-to-letter map suggested by the letter-like items’ appearance. It was assumed that manipulating the output modality using the fixed stimuli set would lead to favoring different encoding strategies and subsequently result in different error patterns. Although visual input seems to be the main determinant of overall error rates in the drawing, typing and pronouncing tasks, less prominent but robust output-related differences between these tasks were also found. The pen and paper copying task showed a significant excess of substitutions called “upside down errors” and incorrect order responses. The typing task showed a significant excess of omissions. The pronouncing task showed a significant excess of mirror errors and the lowest rate of 90-degree rotations. The differences among patterns of errors in the different tasks are consistent with the hypothesized impact of the output modality on the way that visual information is stored in working memory.

Citation: Absatova, K. A., Kurgansky, A. V. (2016). Does the Way we Memorize Information Depend on the Way We are Going to Use It?. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, 13(1), 177-191
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