ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2012, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (12): 1571-1582.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2012.01571

Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Effects of Phonological Similarity and Visual Similarity in Immediate Serial Recall of Chinese Characters

LI Xuan;LIU Si-Yun   

  1. (Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior (CCNU), Ministry of Education; Key Laboratory of Human Development and Mental Health of Hubei Province, School of Psychology, Central China Normal University; School of Psychology, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China)
  • Received:2011-07-26 Published:2012-12-25 Online:2012-12-25
  • Contact: LIU Si-Yun

Abstract: Phonological similarity effect and visual similarity effect are two typical effects found in immediate serial recalls. Previous studies have proposed several theoretical models about the two effects, but no consensus on the processing mechanism of the two effects has been obtained. On the other hand, most previous research used alphabetic languages to investigate the phonological similarity effect, and used pictures and faces for visual similarity effect. Very few studies have investigated the interaction of the two effects. The orthographic features of Chinese make Chinese language a perfect material to observe the interaction of phonological and visual similarity effects. Two experiments were conducted in this study: 1) in Experiment 1, the phonological and visual similarity of Chinese characters were manipulated in the immediate serial recall. Results showed that the phonological similarity effect was significant, and so was the interaction of the phonological and visual similarity effects. However, when the phonological information of the to-be-remembered items were similar, the visual similarity of the items improved the immediate serial recall; when the phonological information was dissimilar, the visual similarity of the items interfered the performance of the participants. 2) in Experiment 2, a mixed list was used in the immediate serial recall. Results indicated that both a phonological similarity effect and a reversed visual similarity effect were found, but not an interaction between the two. In addition, in the mixed list, the recall of the dissimilar items were not influenced by the similar ones; however, when the mixed list were visually manipulated, the dissimilar items were improved by the similar ones, which is exactly the mixed list advantage effect. In summary, current findings of the phonological similarity effect, the visual similarity effect, the interaction of the two effects, and the mixed list advantage effect in Chinese immediate serial recall helped us further understand the short-term memory processings underpinning performances of the tasks, and gave prominence of Chinese language in contribution to the studies of short-term memory.

Key words: phonological similarity effect, visual similarity effect, immediate serial recall