We can gain a better understanding of short-term memory processes by studying different language codes and modalities. Three experiments were conducted to investigate: (a) Taiwanese Sign Language (TSL) digit spans in Chinese/TSL hearing bilinguals (n = 32); (b) American Sign Language (ASL) digit spans in English/ASL hearing bilinguals (n = 15); and (c) TSL lexical sign spans in Chinese/TSL hearing bilinguals (n = 22). Articulatory suppression conditions were manipulated to determine if participants would use a speech- or sign-based code to rehearse lists of signed items. Results from all 3 experiments showed that oral suppression significantly reduced spans while manual suppression had no effect, revealing that participants were using speech-based rehearsal to retain lists of signed items in short-term memory. In addition, sub-vocal rehearsal using Chinese facilitated higher digit spans than English even though stimuli were perceived and recalled using signs. This difference was not found for lexical sign spans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Speech and Hearing