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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 1992 Jan;18(1):157-65.

Influence of short-term memory codes on visual image processing: evidence from image transformation tasks.

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University of Trieste, Italy.


Three experiments showed that phonological recording of visual stimuli in short-term memory (STM) affects coding in long-term memory (LTM) and therefore performance on tasks involving generation and manipulation of visual images of the stimuli. An image transformation task was devised. It consists of mentally subtracting a part of an image to discover in the remainder another object. In Experiment 1, Ss were required to learn a set of easily nameable visual stimuli and then perform the subtraction task on images retrieved from LTM. Performance was significantly better when initial learning was accompanied by articulatory suppression (AS). Experiment 2 confirmed that AS had no effect when the task was performed on an image of a just-presented stimulus. In Experiment 3, the nameability of the stimuli was manipulated. The results replicated the effect of AS for items that were easy to name but showed no effect of AS for stimuli that were difficult to name.

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