The Effects of Linguistic Variables on Short-Term Memory.
NAVAL UNDERWATER SYSTEMS CENTER NEWPORT R I
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Linguistic material has been shown to be susceptible to a special, subject-imposed, implicit type of coding which greatly increases memory capacity yet requires minimal operating time. The present experiment was designed to systematically isolate those characteristics and combinations of characteristics in linguistic material which enable such coding to occur. Frequency F of use in the language, general meaningfulness M of an item, and pronounceability P within the grammatical constraints of the language were chosen as potential characteristics which might be instrumental in implicit coding. The experimental design was composed of two levels of M x two levels of F x three stimulus types comprising two levels of P. All stimuli were of three-letter length consonant trigrams CCCs, consonant-vowel-consonant non-word trigrams CVCs, and CVC words. Each of the 21 subjects was tachistoscopically presented with all 96 trigrams from all conditions, at a presentation rate of 200 mseccard, two trigrams per card. Results from the written response sheets were analyzed both parametrically and qualitatively. Modified author abstract