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ERIC Number: EJ952441
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 92
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Saying What's on Your Mind: Working Memory Effects on Sentence Production
Slevc, L. Robert
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v37 n6 p1503-1514 Nov 2011
The role of working memory (WM) in sentence comprehension has received considerable interest, but little work has investigated how sentence production relies on memory mechanisms. Three experiments investigated speakers' tendency to produce syntactic structures that allow for early production of material that is accessible in memory. In Experiment 1, speakers produced accessible information early less often when under a verbal WM load than when under no load. Experiment 2 found the same pattern for given-new ordering (i.e., when accessibility was manipulated by making information given). Experiment 3 addressed the possibility that these effects do not reflect WM mechanisms but rather increased task difficulty by relying on the distinction between verbal and spatial WM: Speakers' tendency to produce sentences respecting given-new ordering was reduced more by a verbal than by a spatial WM load. These patterns show that accessibility effects do in fact reflect accessibility in verbal WM and that representations in sentence production are vulnerable to interference from other information in memory. (Contains 4 footnotes and 3 figures.)
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 - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California