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Short-term memory of native Cantonese speakers

Authors Sze, Yuet Yu
Issue Date 1997
Summary Good understanding of short-term memory is important for an efficient and adequate design of tasks that demand memorization. In this research, we investigated the short-term memory of Cantonese speakers. Previous studies on short-term memory have been predominantly performed with native speakers of the English language. As language, culture and inherent characteristics of the persons may affect their short-term memory, we have designed and conducted three experiments to determine the short-term memory of Cantonese speakers, using a number remembering task. The purposes of our research were to investigate the dependency of short-term memory on: (1) the way the information is presented (visual, audio and audio-visual); (2) the way the information is displayed visually (whole number at once or one digit at a time); (3) the pacing factor (i.e., paced or unpaced); and (4) the language (Cantonese or in English) in which the information is heard. Performance was determined through accuracy measures and, for self paced conditions, response time. Six different accuracy measures were developed and analyzed. The calculation of memory span in each experimental condition was made using two different procedures reported in the literature. The main results were: (1) audio and audio-visual presentation of information had better performance in the last few digits of a list than visual presentation; (2) whole number display was better than one digit at a time; (3) self-pacing was better than fixed pacing; (4) information heard in Cantonese was better recalled than information heard in English. Some of the results do not match with the results of previous studies. The discrepancies may be attributed to the differences in reading speed between Cantonese and English, or due to cultural or even intelligence level differences.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 1997
Language English
Format Thesis
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