Timing the "magical number seven": presentation rate and regularity affect verbal working memory performance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The informative value of time and temporal structure often remains neglected in cognitive assessments. However, next to information about stimulus identity we can exploit temporal ordering principles, such as regularity, periodicity, or grouping to generate predictions about the timing of future events. Such predictions may improve cognitive performance by optimising adaptation to dynamic stimuli. Here, we investigated the influence of temporal structure on verbal working memory by assessing immediate recall performance for aurally presented digit sequences (forward digit span) as a function of standard (1000 ms stimulus-onset-asynchronies, SOAs), short (700 ms), long (1300 ms) and mixed (700-1300 ms) stimulus timing during the presentation phase. Participant's digit spans were lower for short and mixed SOA presentation relative to standard SOAs. This confirms an impact of temporal structure on the classic "magical number seven," suggesting that working memory performance can in part be regulated through the systematic application of temporal ordering principles.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 May 2019

Cite this

@article{507ae3769ebf4f8385e87f9225a95dc9,
title = "Timing the {"}magical number seven{"}: presentation rate and regularity affect verbal working memory performance",
abstract = "The informative value of time and temporal structure often remains neglected in cognitive assessments. However, next to information about stimulus identity we can exploit temporal ordering principles, such as regularity, periodicity, or grouping to generate predictions about the timing of future events. Such predictions may improve cognitive performance by optimising adaptation to dynamic stimuli. Here, we investigated the influence of temporal structure on verbal working memory by assessing immediate recall performance for aurally presented digit sequences (forward digit span) as a function of standard (1000 ms stimulus-onset-asynchronies, SOAs), short (700 ms), long (1300 ms) and mixed (700-1300 ms) stimulus timing during the presentation phase. Participant's digit spans were lower for short and mixed SOA presentation relative to standard SOAs. This confirms an impact of temporal structure on the classic {"}magical number seven,{"} suggesting that working memory performance can in part be regulated through the systematic application of temporal ordering principles.",
author = "Michael Schwartze and Brown, {Rachel M} and Emmanuel Biau and Kotz, {Sonja A}",
note = "{\circledC} 2019 The Authors. International Journal of Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Union of Psychological Science.",
year = "2019",
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doi = "10.1002/ijop.12588",
language = "English",
journal = "International Journal of Psychology",
issn = "0020-7594",
publisher = "Psychology Press Ltd",

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Timing the "magical number seven"

T2 - presentation rate and regularity affect verbal working memory performance

AU - Schwartze, Michael

AU - Brown, Rachel M

AU - Biau, Emmanuel

AU - Kotz, Sonja A

N1 - © 2019 The Authors. International Journal of Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Union of Psychological Science.

PY - 2019/5/7

Y1 - 2019/5/7

N2 - The informative value of time and temporal structure often remains neglected in cognitive assessments. However, next to information about stimulus identity we can exploit temporal ordering principles, such as regularity, periodicity, or grouping to generate predictions about the timing of future events. Such predictions may improve cognitive performance by optimising adaptation to dynamic stimuli. Here, we investigated the influence of temporal structure on verbal working memory by assessing immediate recall performance for aurally presented digit sequences (forward digit span) as a function of standard (1000 ms stimulus-onset-asynchronies, SOAs), short (700 ms), long (1300 ms) and mixed (700-1300 ms) stimulus timing during the presentation phase. Participant's digit spans were lower for short and mixed SOA presentation relative to standard SOAs. This confirms an impact of temporal structure on the classic "magical number seven," suggesting that working memory performance can in part be regulated through the systematic application of temporal ordering principles.

AB - The informative value of time and temporal structure often remains neglected in cognitive assessments. However, next to information about stimulus identity we can exploit temporal ordering principles, such as regularity, periodicity, or grouping to generate predictions about the timing of future events. Such predictions may improve cognitive performance by optimising adaptation to dynamic stimuli. Here, we investigated the influence of temporal structure on verbal working memory by assessing immediate recall performance for aurally presented digit sequences (forward digit span) as a function of standard (1000 ms stimulus-onset-asynchronies, SOAs), short (700 ms), long (1300 ms) and mixed (700-1300 ms) stimulus timing during the presentation phase. Participant's digit spans were lower for short and mixed SOA presentation relative to standard SOAs. This confirms an impact of temporal structure on the classic "magical number seven," suggesting that working memory performance can in part be regulated through the systematic application of temporal ordering principles.

U2 - 10.1002/ijop.12588

DO - 10.1002/ijop.12588

M3 - Article

C2 - 31062352

JO - International Journal of Psychology

JF - International Journal of Psychology

SN - 0020-7594

ER -