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ERIC Number: EJ831499
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 62
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
In Search of Decay in Verbal Short-Term Memory
Berman, Marc G.; Jonides, John; Lewis, Richard L.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v35 n2 p317-333 Mar 2009
Is forgetting in the short term due to decay with the mere passage of time, interference from other memoranda, or both? Past research on short-term memory has revealed some evidence for decay and a plethora of evidence showing that short-term memory is worsened by interference. However, none of these studies has directly contrasted decay and interference in short-term memory in a task that rules out the use of rehearsal processes. In this article the authors present a series of studies using a novel paradigm to address this problem directly, by interrogating the operation of decay and interference in short-term memory without rehearsal confounds. The results of these studies indicate that short-term memories are subject to very small decay effects with the mere passage of time but that interference plays a much larger role in their degradation. The authors discuss the implications of these results for existing models of memory decay and interference. (Contains 7 figures, 5 tables and 11 notes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A