The Role of Sentence Information in Reading Span Performance: An Examination of the Recall Reconstruction Hypothesis
T. Tanaka, S. Saito, & S. Kikuchi
Recent studies assessing working memory suggest that sentence representations can support recall during reading span tests (RST). However, mechanisms underlying this positive effect have not been precisely identified. The present study examined the influence of sentence representations on recall performance during an RST by manipulating both, the type of target words (focus or non-focus words within the sentence) and word frequency of non-target sentence words. Results showed that (1) recall performance was lower for the low-frequency RST, where a non-target was a low-frequency word, than for a high-frequency RST; (2) there was a robust focus effect, with an advantage for focus words compared to non-focus targets; and (3) there were no interactions between the frequency and focus manipulations. The results indicate that sentence representations have an important role to RST performance.

Key words: sentence information, working memory, recall reconstruction hypothesis