Perceptual richness of words and its role in free and cued recall




free recall, cued recall, dual coding theory, perceptual richness, perceptual symbol systems theory


This research aimed to clarify the role of the perceptual richness of words (PR) in the recall tasks. PR was operationalized as the number of sensory modalities through which an object can be perceived. Previously, we found that concepts experienced with many modalities (dog) were recalled more accurately in cued recall than those perceived with few modalities (rainbow) and abstract words. This finding fitted the Perceptual symbol system theory (PSST) and the Dual coding theory (DCT) predictions. We tested the PR effect in both cued (experiment 1- E1) and free recall tasks (experiment 2 – E2) in the present study. With careful stimuli manipulation of context availability and emotional valence and statistical control of arousal and relatedness, made to exclude their influence on recall, we tested alternative explanations of the concreteness effect offered by the relational-distinctiveness hypothesis. The additional perceptual codes improved recall accuracy in the cued recall task (E1), which was in line with the PSST and the DCT. This conclusion is straightforward: two critical groups of concrete words were matched for concreteness and visual perceptual strength. Thus, more accurate recall of concepts experienced with many modalities can be attributed to richer perceptual experience. However, the relational information was essential for recall accuracy in the free recall task (E2), as hypothesized by the relational-distinctiveness hypothesis.


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How to Cite

Popović Stijačić, M., & Filipović Đurđević, D. (2022). Perceptual richness of words and its role in free and cued recall. Primenjena Psihologija, 15(3), 355–381.



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