2020 CSBBCS / CPA CJEP Best Article Award Winner: Dr. Chrissy Chubala


Chubala, C. M., Neath, I., & Surprenant, A. M. (2019). A comparison of immediate serial recall and immediate serial recognition. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie expérimentale73(1), 5 - 27. ​http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cep0000158


In an immediate serial recall task, participants are presented with a list of items that they must subsequently report back in the original presentation order. Although immediate serial recall has long been taken as the standard short-term and working memory task, a growing body of literature has instead made use of immediate serial recognition. In immediate serial recognition, a list of items is presented and subsequently represented, either in the exact same order or with two adjacent items swapped. Participants must decide whether the order of the list items was the same or different across the two presentations. Whereas serial recall and serial recognition are often treated as comparable tasks, with a few differences that make one or the other more suitable for a given experiment, the relationship between them has not been carefully examined. In this article, we report a series of experiments that directly compare the effects of various manipulations using the two tasks. In Experiments 1 and 2 we show an effect of word frequency in serial recall but not serial recognition. In Experiments 3 and 4 we show an effect of semantic relatedness in serial recall but not serial recognition. Experiments 5 and 6 demonstrate that the two tests are similarly affected by word concreteness and acoustic similarity, respectively. We consider the theoretical and methodological implications of these findings.