The effect of semantic features on gist and verbatim memory in young adults with language-learning disabilities
This thesis is an expansion of an ongoing examination of gist and verbatim memory in young adults with language-learning disabilities (LLD) using the DRM paradigm (Deese, 1959; Roediger & McDermott, 1995). This study uses lists based on situation semantic features in addition to DRM lists based on backwards associative strength (BAS), which were categorized as strong-, mid-, and low-BAS (Stadler, Roediger, & McDermott, 1999). Items in each list (e.g., bacon, toast, cereal, muffin) related to a non-presented word (e.g., breakfast): the critical lure (CL). BAS is a measure of the likelihood that a list item will elicit the CL. Thirty young adults participated in this study and were divided into three groups: true LLD, compensated LLD, and typically developing (TD). Participants listened to word lists and verbally recalled the words they remembered hearing. Accurate recall was an indicator of verbatim memory; CL recall was an indicator of gist memory. The true LLD group recalled CL at a significantly higher rate than the other groups in the case of the situation lists; additionally, the compensated LLD group recalled CL for the low-BAS lists at a significantly higher rate than the other groups. These findings suggest that the LLD participants may process semantic information differently or may rely on gist memory to a greater extent than the TD controls. Results also indicated list type differences for both verbatim and gist recalls, supporting the effects of both semantic features and BAS together with other factors.