Verbal Short-term Memory and Vocabulary Learning in Polyglots

C. Papagno, G. Vallar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Polyglot and non-polyglot Italian subjects were given tests assessing verbal (phonological) and visuo-spatial short-term and long-term memory, general intelligence, and vocabulary knowledge in their native language. Polyglots had a superior level of performance in verbal short-term memory tasks (auditory digit span and nonword repetition) and in a paired-associate learning test, which assessed the subjects’ ability to acquire new (Russian) words. By contrast, the two groups had comparable performance levels in tasks assessing general intelligence, visuo-spatial short-term memory and learning, and paired-associate learning of Italian words. These findings, which are in line with neuropsychological and developmental evidence, as well as with data from normal subjects, suggest a close relationship between the capacity of phonological memory and the acquisition of foreign languages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-107
Number of pages10
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

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