A retrieval account of the long-term modality effect

Arthur M. Glenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


When to-be-remembered (TBR) word pairs are separated by distractor activity, recall of the last few audibly presented pairs is greater than recall of the last few visually presented pairs. This effect is found even after a considerably long, distractor-filled retention interval. Five experiments with 126 undergraduates were conducted to examine various new interpretations of the long-term modality effect. Results disconfirm echoic storage, short-term storage, and long-term storage accounts of these effects as well as demonstrating that the effect is not an artifact of differential use of a recency-first output strategy. Data are generally consistent with the proposition that retrieval is disrupted by modality-specific similarity between TBR items and distractor information. (35 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-31
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1984
Externally publishedYes


  • duration of distractor activity between aurally- vs visually-presented word pairs, word pair recall &
  • long-term modality effect, college students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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