Grammar and memory I. Phonological similarity and proactive interference

Max Coltheart*, Gina Geffen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Three two-phoneme nonsense syllables were presented on each of five trials of a memory experiment. The items presented on trial five possessed a phonological feature absent from all items presented on earlier trials. Accuracy of recall declined monotonically through the first four trials and improved considerably on the fifth trial, i.e., there was a buildup and release of proactive interference. These effects are discussed in terms of the view that the memory trace for a verbal item consists of an array of syntactic, semantic, and phonological features, the particular classes of features present in the trace depending upon the particular nature of the verbal material presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1970
Externally publishedYes


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