Re-evaluating the word-length effect

Peter Lovatt, Steve Avons

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Notes that the word-length effect, wherein subjects can recall a sequence of short words in the correct order more accurately than they can recall a sequence of long words, is one of the most salient features of immediate serial recall. This chapter reviews the original evidence for the word-length effect and explains how this led to the proposal of the phonological loop model of working memory. The authors then discuss evidence that questions the original interpretation of the word-length effect, and strongly contests one fundamental assumption of the model. Finally, the authors consider some alternatives to the phonological loop and discuss the extent to which these accounts meet existing requirements. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorking Memory in Perspective
EditorsJackie Andrade
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherPsychology Press
ISBN (Print)0-415-21198-0, 978-0415211987
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • working memory


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