A sequence of spoken digits is easier to recall if the digits are grouped into smaller chunks (e.g., through the insertion of pauses). It has been claimed that intonation does not facilitate recall over and above the effect achieved by pauses. This may be related to the fact that past research has used synthesized intonation contours. In this replication study, we show that intonation does provide benefits once more naturalistic intonation contours are used. This benefit is independent of response modality (spoken responses, keyboard responses, or handwritten responses in a grid). We furthermore show that intonation differentially affects specific positions within the sequence of digits. Crucially, our results suggest that researchers and clinicians need to pay attention to intonation when assessing working memory using spoken language.
- Digit span
- Serial recall
- Working memory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)