ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2009, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (09): 802-811.

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  1. (1西南大学心理学院, 重庆 400715) (2贵州师范大学教育科学学院, 贵阳 550001)
  • 收稿日期:2008-03-26 修回日期:1900-01-01 发布日期:2009-09-30 出版日期:2009-09-30
  • 通讯作者: 徐展

The Mechanism of Reverse Word Length Effect of Chinese in Working Memory

XU Zhan;Li Bi-Qin   

  1. (1School of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China)
    (2 School of Education Science, Guizhou Normal University, Guiyang 550001, China)
  • Received:2008-03-26 Revised:1900-01-01 Online:2009-09-30 Published:2009-09-30
  • Contact: XU Zhan

摘要: 工作记忆中的反词长效应(reverse word-length effect)指在对长词和短词混合的词表进行即时序列回忆时, 独立长词回忆成绩优于独立短词的现象。以汉字词语为材料通过3个实验探讨反词长效应的机制。实验1采用纯粹词表和长短词混合词表, 既得到纯粹词词长效应, 也得到独立词反词长效应。实验2削弱了长短词之间的词长差异, 结果独立词反词长效应消失, 且独立词回忆成绩优于纯粹词。实验3设计了视觉延迟条件, 得到与实验1类似的结果, 只是独立词反词长效应有所削弱。三个实验的结果并不一致, 无法用现有的语音回路理论或SIMPLE理论进行很好地解释, 理论的整合与创新显得非常重要。因此, 提出多重编码以既相互竞争又相互补充方式进行平行加工的观点进行更完整地解释。

关键词: 词长效应, 反词长效应, 语音回路理论, SIMPLE理论, CCPP假设

Abstract: One theoretically influential and much studied phenomenon related to working memory is the word-length effect: the finding that lists of short words are recalled at substantially higher rates than lists of long words (Baddeley, Thomson, & Buchanan, 1975). However, researchers have also found a reverse word-length effect for mixed word lists: isolated long words are recalled better than isolated short words within the same list (Hulme, Neath, Stuart, Shostak, Surprenant, & Brown, 2006). Current theoretical accounts of the word-length effect can be divided into two very different forms of explanation: primarily list-based or item-based. According to list-based explanations, the word-length effect is the product of some overall characteristic of the list. For example, the classic phonological loop hypothesis posits that there is a positive correlation between the rate of subvocal rehearsal and overt pronunciation time (Baddeley, 1986). In contrast, item-based explanations hy-pothesize that short words are inherently easier to recall than long words (Neath & Nairne, 1995). For example, the SIMPLE model assumes that word-length effects are due to item complexity, and this complexity affects the relative discrimination of items in a list. Unfortunately, the reverse word length effect contradicts models that explain the word-length effect in terms of list-based accounts of rehearsal speed or as item-based effects. Modi-fications to current models or new explanations should be generated. In the present study, three experiments were conducted not only to integrate list-based and item-based explanations to account for the reverse word-length effect but also to propose new ideas for the mechanism.
The study compared serial recall of word lists with varying lengths. Materials included three types of words: two-character, three-character and four-character Chinese words. The words were combined into four sets of word list, each of which consisted of five words: a pure short word list, a pure long word list, a mixed list con-taining four long words (background) and one short word (isolated word), and a mixed list containing four short words (background) and one long word (isolated word).
Fifty-eight undergraduates (28 males, 30 females) participated in the study. Experiment 1 found a word length effect in pure lists and serial position effect in all lists. Furthermore, short background words were still better recalled than the long background words and a reverse word length effect was observed in isolated words: Isolated long words were recalled better than isolated short words, and the isolated words were recalled more accurately than background words. Experiment 2 reduced the length difference of total pronunciation time for the two types of mixed lists. The reverse word length effect was eliminated and the rate of recall was still higher for isolated words than background words. These findings indicated that total pronunciation time had a role in recall performance. Experiment 3 used a technique of output delay. After the final item disappeared, a white crossband lasting 2 seconds was presented in the same location of a computer screen. An attenuated reverse word length effect was observed. However, there were no significant differences in recall performance for iso-lated, pure, or background words. These findings indicated that aside from phonological encoding, visual en-coding, contributed to the memory process.
Taken together, the findings showed that the reverse word-length effect could be explained only if list-based and item-based theories were integrated. Furthermore, results implicated a hypothesis of competi-tive-complementary parallel processing (CCPP) in relation to immediate serial order recall. That is, working memory may involve multiple, parallel, and different encodings that are both competitive and complementary in memory processing.

Key words: word-length effect, reverse word-length effect, phonological loop theory, SIMPLE theory, CCPP hypothesis