The interaction of concreteness and phonological similarity in verbal working memory
Acheson, D. J., Postle, B. R., & MacDonald, M. C.
The interaction of concreteness and phonological similarity in verbal working memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 36
(1), 17-36. doi:10.1037/a0017679.
Although phonological representations have been a primary focus of verbal working memory research, lexical-semantic manipulations also influence performance. In the present study, the authors investigated whether a classic phenomenon in verbal working memory, the phonological similarity effect (PSE), is modulated by a lexical-semantic variable, word concreteness. Phonological overlap and concreteness were factorially manipulated in each of four experiments across which presentation modality (Experiments 1 and 2: visual presentation; Experiments 3 and 4: auditory presentation) and concurrent articulation (present in Experiments 2 and 4) were manipulated. In addition to main effects of each variable, results show a Phonological Overlap x Concreteness interaction whereby the magnitude of the PSE is greater for concrete word lists relative to abstract word lists. This effect is driven by superior item memory for nonoverlapping, concrete lists and is robust to the modality of presentation and concurrent articulation. These results demonstrate that in verbal working memory tasks, there are multiple routes to the phonological form of a word and that maintenance and retrieval occur over more than just a phonological level.