Learning and Memory in the Visual, Auditory, and Olfactory Modalities: An Investigation of the Generality of Serial Position Effects

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Title: Learning and Memory in the Visual, Auditory, and Olfactory Modalities: An Investigation of the Generality of Serial Position Effects
Author: Petlick, Julie Hinson
Advisors: Dr. James W. Kalat, Committee Co-Chair
Abstract: Serial position effects have been obtained in species including pigeons, monkeys, and humans. They have been demonstrated in both young and old humans and non-humans alike. The research findings have indicated that short retention intervals produce a strong recency effect whereas longer retention intervals give way to the primacy effect. This traditional recency-primacy shift is supported by a great deal of empirical research. Much of the research involves stimuli that can be classified as verbal and in most cases are presented visually. There are few investigations of the generality of primacy and recency effects at a strictly sensory level, such as with nonverbal stimuli especially in non-visual modalities. The few investigations that have been reported have obtained inconsistent findings. This experiment utilized a serial probe recognition task to investigate recognition memory for nonverbal stimuli across 5 list positions. The visual, auditory, and olfactory modalities were tested at both a 3 and 15 second delay. Results indicated the presence of both primacy and recency effects in the auditory and olfactory modalities at short delay intervals. The shift from recency to primacy was not obtained when delay was increased from 3 to 15 seconds. The data suggest that serial position effects are characteristic of memory in general; however, additional research regarding the effects of increased delay is warranted.
Date: 2003-10-28
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Psychology
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/4124


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