Effects of modality and linguistic materials on memory
Audiologists can test memory with auditory or visual stimuli. Visual tests are immune to hearing loss; auditory tests are ecologically relevant. In a previous study, an auditory test was preferred to a visual test, because it yielded a greater range of working memory scores; however, the linguistic properties of the materials were not matched across tests. In the current study, we compared auditory and visual tests with matched word-level and sentence-level materials. Thirty-two young adults with normal hearing completed four tests (2 modalities x 2 linguistic levels). The order of conditions was counter-balanced. In each test, 100 items were presented, with 5 trials in each of setsizes (2, 3, 4, 5, 6). The number of words correctly recognized, judged and recalled was measured. Recall decreased with increasing setsize. There were significant main effects on recall of modality (auditory > visual) and linguistic-level (word > sentence), and interactions with setsize.
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