First Advisor

Barry F. Anderson

Term of Graduation

Spring 1972

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Psychology






Recognition (Psychology), Memory, Hearing, Vision



Physical Description

1 online resource (19 pages)


A probe-stimulus recognition technique was used to test hypothesized differences in visual and auditory sensory memory storage. Lists of alphabetical letters were presented visually or auditorially, each followed by a visual or auditory probe. Performance on the auditory lists was predicted to be better than on the visual lists. Moreover, auditory lists followed by a visual probe (AV) were expected to show a decrement in performance in comparison to auditory list-auditory probe tasks (AA). Visual lists followed by an auditory probe (VA) were likewise expected to result in a decrement in performance in comparison to visual list-visual probe tasks (VV). An hypothesis of performance ordering in the form AA>AV>(VV, VA) was tested and supported. Delay periods of 1/2 and 2 1/2 seconds were used between presentation of the last item of the list and presentation of the probe. It was hypothesized that the shorter delay would substantially increase the probability of a correct response in the auditory list conditions as a function of the contribution of a pre-perceptual acoustic store. This hypothesis was also supported. Performance hypotheses in the form AA>AV and VV>VA for the 2 1/2 second delay were not confirmed. The possibility of rehearsal was cited. The results of this study support the memory models which distinguish between auditory and visual sensory stores with respect to length of decay. Information is made available longer from auditory sensory memory than from visual sensory memory and retrieval from these stores is facilitated when the probe item is in the same mode as the list.


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