What you say matters: Exploring visual-verbal interactions in visual working memory

Judit Mate, Richard J. Allen, Josep Baqués

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to explore whether the content of a simple concurrent verbal load task determines the extent of its interference on memory for coloured shapes. The task consisted of remembering four visual items while repeating aloud a pair of words that varied in terms of imageability and relatedness to the task set. At test, a cue appeared that was either the colour or the shape of one of the previously seen objects, with participants required to select the object's other feature from a visual array. During encoding and retention, there were four verbal load conditions: (a) a related, shape-colour pair (from outside the experimental set, i.e., "pink square"); (b) a pair of unrelated but visually imageable, concrete, words (i.e., "big elephant"); (c) a pair of unrelated and abstract words (i.e., "critical event"); and (d) no verbal load. Results showed differential effects of these verbal load conditions. In particular, imageable words (concrete and related conditions) interfered to a greater degree than abstract words. Possible implications for how visual working memory interacts with verbal memory and long-term memory are discussed. © 2012 Copyright The Experimental Psychology Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-400
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012


  • Articulatory suppression
  • Cross-modal interference
  • Episodic buffer
  • Semantic representation
  • Visual working memory


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