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Attention: Gray and Wedderburn 1960
Gray, J. A. and Wedderburn, A. A. I. (1960). Grouping strategies with simultaneous stimuli. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 12, 180-184. (pdf)

Participants were presented with three-syllable words and three-digit sequences in the same voice, alternating ears. The only cues available, therefore, were meaning and ear-of-arrival. The study found that, where meaning was available, it was used more than ear-of-arrival.

You will need a computer with a sound card and headphones to run this version of the experiment.

Broadbent 1954, Warren and Warren 1970

Broadbent, D.E. (1956). Successive responses to simultaneous stimuli. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 8, 145-152.

Broadbent, D.E. (1957). Immediate memory and simultaneous stimuli. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 9, 1-11.

Broadbent, D.E. (1958). Perception and Communication. London.

Broadbent (1956) reports that two lists of digits, each presented to one ear separately so that the items in the two series coincide in time, are grouped together according to the ear-of-arrival, and that these two lists are accordingly recalled separately, one after the other. To ascertain whether such a tendency reflected some built-in mechanism or whether it was due to an optional tactic, adopted through success in making sense of message sequences in other situations, an experiment was designed in which a meaningful message would emerge for the subject if the ear-of-arrival cue was ignored. In this experiment, words broken up into syllables, and phrases broken up into their monosyllabic constituent words were presented to the subject, with the constituents alternating between the two ears. At the same time lists of digits were presented to whichever ear was unoccupied. The results show that recall by meaning rather than by ear-of-arrival, when these are in conflict, can occur and is no less efficient.


Brian MacWhinney