Does familiarity affect transfer from an iconic to a short-term memory?


Phillips W (1971) Does familiarity affect transfer from an iconic to a short-term memory?. Perception and Psychophysics, 10 (3), pp. 153-157.

Six Ss discriminated seven-letter nonsense words from comparison words. Target and comparison words differed on randomly selected trials by one randomly chosen letter. Target words were displayed for 50, 55, 60, 70, 90, or 200 msec, and were preceded and followed by a masking field. In one condition the Ss were familiarized with the comparison words, and in another they were not. Discrimination was better for familiar words at all display durations. There was an interaction between familiarity and the letter position effect. For unfamiliar words the typical bow-shaped position effect occurred. For familiar words no marked position effect occurred. An identification condition using unfamiliar words found no interaction between letter position and display duration. The results are interpreted as evidence that familiarity removes a letter position effect that depends upon serial transfer from a nonmaskable mediating visual representation that is constructed from a maskable representation by nonserial processes.

Perception and Psychophysics: Volume 10, Issue 3

Publication date31/05/1971