Item noise in the Sternberg paradigm


The list length effect in recognition memory is the finding that performance improves as the number of items studied decreases. Models have attempted to operationalize interference in recognition memory as noise that accumulates over items in the study list, other contexts in which studied items have appeared, or a combination of both sources. Item noise models predict a list length effect. The list length effect has been eliminated in long-term recognition tasks. We demonstrate that the length effect may also be eliminated in short-term recognition (the Sternberg paradigm) if a filled delay is introduced. List length and recency effects were eliminated following an engaging 15 second distractor task. Articulatory suppression invoked the same results at a 2 second delay.

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