Examining the Effect of Interference on Short-term Memory Recall of Arabic Abstract and Concrete Words Using Free, Cued, and Serial Recall Paradigms

Ahmed Mohammed Saleh Alduais, Yasir Saad Almukhaizeem


Purpose: To see if there is a correlation between interference and short-term memory recall and to examine interference as a factor affecting memory recalling of Arabic and abstract words through free, cued, and serial recall tasks. Method: Four groups of undergraduates in King Saud University, Saudi Arabia participated in this study. The first group consisted of 9 undergraduates who were trained to perform three types of recall for 20 Arabic abstract and concrete words. The second, third and fourth groups consisted of 27 undergraduates where each group was trained only to perform one recall type: free recall, cued recall and serial recall respectively. Interference (short-term memory interruption) was the independent variable and a number of recalled abstract and concrete words was the dependent variable. The used materials in this study were: abstract and concrete words classification form based on four factors was distributed to the participants (concreteness, imageability, meaningfulness, and age of acquisition), three oral recall forms, three written recall forms, and observation sheets for each type of recall. Also, three methods were used: auditory, visual, and written methods. Results: Findings indicated that interference effect on short-term memory recall of Arabic abstract and concrete words was not significant especially in the case of free and serial recall paradigms. The difference between the total number of recalled Arabic abstract and concrete words was also very slight. One other the hand, we came to the conclusion that Pearson’s correlation between interference at these memory recall paradigms (M: 1.66, SD= .47) and the short-term memory recall (M: 1.75, SD= .43) supported the research hypothesis that those participants with oral interruptions tended to recall slightly less Arabic abstract and concrete words, whereas those participants with no oral interruptions would tend to recall slightly more Arabic abstract and concrete words, r = .713, p< 0.01. Conclusions: Interference as a factor affecting short-term memory recall didn’t show any significant effect where there was a noticeable increase or decrease in the number of recalled words; although, it is moderately yet positively correlated to short-term memory recall. 

Keywords: abstract words, concrete words, words recall, free recall, cued recall, serial recall, recall effects, interference, short-term memory     

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