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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2000 Nov;26(6):1638-54.

Stress grouping improves performance on an immediate serial list recall task.

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Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina, Columbia 29208, USA.


Five experiments investigated whether perceptual patterning afforded by imposing a recurrent stress pattern on auditorially presented lists has a positive effect on list recall. The experiments also addressed whether the recall advantage reflected the salience that the stress pattern created for certain items or whether the recall advantage arose from the distinct grouping configurations that were produced by the stress pattern. The authors explored these issues by examining immediate serial-recall performance for spoken lists that either did or did not have a stress pattern imposed on them. Lists had an anapest or dactylic stress pattern or were monotone and consisted of two stimulus types, either digit names or common English nouns. Results showed that stress patterns enhanced serial-recall performance and that the recall benefit derived primarily from the perceptual grouping afforded by the stress patterns. Results also showed that the grouping benefit derived from stress patterning generalizes to monotone lists. In contrast, salience effects are attached to the stimulus per se and do not transfer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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