Short-term memory deficits and long-term learning: Beyond phonology
Freedman, Monica Lyn
Martin, Randi C.
Master of Arts
Short-term memory (STM) is comprised of dissociable phonological, semantic and syntactic components (Martin, 1993). Previous findings indicate phonological STM capacity supports learning of novel phonological forms, such as new vocabulary (e.g., Baddeley, 1998). It was hypothesized that semantic STM capacity supports learning of novel semantic information. Ability to learn novel phonological vs. semantic information was compared in six aphasic patients using a paired associated paradigm. It was predicted that patients with phonological STM deficits would be most impaired at learning novel phonological information, whereas patients with semantic STM deficits would show the reverse pattern. Predictions were confirmed for four patients. However, two patients failed to show learning for either type of material. Results suggest that the semantic and phonological components of STM are essential for learning corresponding representations in long-term memory. Patients were also tested on adjective-noun pairs with varying degrees of preexisting association. Results suggest that phonological STM supports learning of abstract stimuli.
Educational psychology; Cognitive psychology; Language