Auditory and visual short-term memory: Influence of material type, contour, and musical expertise - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Psychological Research Year : 2021

Auditory and visual short-term memory: Influence of material type, contour, and musical expertise

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Abstract

Short-term memory has mostly been investigated with verbal or visuospatial stimuli and less so with other categories of stimuli. Moreover, the influence of sensory modality has been explored almost solely in the verbal domain. The present study compared visual and auditory short-term memory for different types of materials, aiming to understand whether sensory modality and material type can influence short-term memory performance. Furthermore, we aimed to assess if music expertise can modulate memory performance, as previous research has reported better auditory memory (and to some extent, visual memory), and better auditory contour recognition for musicians than non-musicians. To do so, we adapted the same recognition paradigm (delayed-matching to sample) across different types of stimuli. In each trial, participants (musicians and non-musicians) were presented with two sequences of events, separated by a silent delay, and had to indicate whether the two sequences were identical or different. The performance was compared for auditory and visual materials belonging to three different categories: (1) verbal (i.e., syllables); (2) nonverbal (i.e., that could not be easily denominated) with contour (based on loudness or luminance variations); and (3) nonverbal without contour (pink noise sequences or kanji letters sequences). Contour and no-contour conditions referred to whether the sequence can entail (or not) a contour (i.e., a pattern of up and down changes) based on non-pitch features. Results revealed a selective advantage of musicians for auditory no-contour stimuli and for contour stimuli (both visual and auditory), suggesting that musical expertise is associated with specific short-term memory advantages in domains close to the trained domain, also extending cross-modally when stimuli have contour information. Moreover, our results suggest a role of encoding strategies (i.e., how the material is represented mentally during the task) for short-term-memory performance.
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Dates and versions

hal-03384372 , version 1 (18-10-2021)

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Francesca Talamini, Salomé Blain, Jérémie Ginzburg, Olivier Houix, Patrick Bouchet, et al.. Auditory and visual short-term memory: Influence of material type, contour, and musical expertise. Psychological Research, inPress, ⟨10.1007/s00426-021-01519-0⟩. ⟨hal-03384372⟩
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