A Phonological Account for the Cross-Language Variation in Working Memory Processing

By Cheung, Him; Kemper, Susan et al. | The Psychological Record, Spring 2000 | Go to article overview

A Phonological Account for the Cross-Language Variation in Working Memory Processing


Cheung, Him, Kemper, Susan, Leung, E., The Psychological Record


This study examines the relationship between immediate serial recall and word articulation rate with Cantonese and English materials. Using bilingual subjects, Experiment 1 reported a steeper regression function relating recall to word articulation rate for Cantonese than for English items. The effect of language on regression slopes was shown to hold both with and without concurrent articulation (i.e., subjects repeating irrelevant digits during list learning and recall, thus blocking any articulatory mechanisms), although it was significantly more pronounced in the latter condition. In Experiment 2, the effect of language on slopes was replicated in monolingual English speakers, using pseudowords that preserved the consonant-vowel structures of the Experiment 1 items. These findings indicate that (1) both articulatory and nonarticulatory processes contribute to the cross-language variation in regression slopes and (2) the language effect is attributable to a difference in consonant-vowel structures of the items from the two languages. It is concluded that the phonological loop model (Baddeley, 1986), which specifies an articulatory rehearsal process and a nonarticulatory phonological store, is applicable to cross-language working memory processing.

The positive relationship between short-term recall and word articulation rate has been established as a general phenomenon for English words of various lengths (Baddeley, Thomson, & Buchanan, 1975; Cowan, 1992; Cowan, Day, Saults, Keller, Johnson, & Flores, 1992; Hulme, Maughan, & Brown, 1991; Schweickert & Boruff, 1986; Standing, Bond, Smith, & Isely, 1980). Generally speaking, words that could be uttered fast tend to be recalled better. Emphasizing the predictive role of word articulation rate, some previous authors have used it to explain important variations in short-term recall. For instance, Hulme, Thomson, Muir, and Lawrence (1984) demonstrated that the developmental increase in short-term span from 4 years of age to adulthood could be completely explained by a corresponding increase in word articulation rate. A similar conclusion was reached by Nicolson (1981). Kynette, Kemper, Norman, and Cheung (1990) suggested that the reduced short-term span among older adults could as well be explained by a dec line in word articulation rate.

In a similar vein, word articulation rate might also account for cross-language variations in short-term recall. Ellis and Hennelly (1980) found that English-Welsh bilinguals had larger English digit spans than Welsh digit spans, and this was accompanied by a proportionally faster digit pronunciation rate in English than in Welsh. Hoosain and Salili (1987) and Hoosain (1979, 1982) had Cantonese-English bilinguals recall and articulate both Cantonese and English digits. Digit span was significantly greater in Cantonese than in English, and Cantonese digits were articulated more rapidly than English digits. Similar results were obtained by Stigler, Lee, and Stevenson (1986), who demonstrated that Chinese-speaking children had larger digit spans than their age-matched English-speaking counterparts; Chinese digits were also shown to be articulated more rapidly than English digits.

This consistent recall-articulation rate relationship is generally attributed to the articulatory rehearsal component of working memory (Baddeley et al., 1975), which operates like an audio tape running at a constant speed. A fast articulation rate enables a large amount of information being "recorded" onto this tape within a fixed period of time. Recall is thus enhanced. According to this view, the articulation rates of memory items constitute the dominant factor for recall; a constant recall-articulation rate function across different situations is thus expected. In other words, given the same rate of articulation and therefore the same rehearsal efficiency, very similar recall would result, regardless of the type of material, age of subjects, and so forth. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Phonological Account for the Cross-Language Variation in Working Memory Processing
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.