Word-Order and Imagery in the Recall of Adjective-Noun Phrases

Richardson, John T. E. (1978). Word-Order and Imagery in the Recall of Adjective-Noun Phrases. International Journal of Psychology, 13(3) pp. 179–184.

URL: http://doi.org/10.1080/00207597808246623


Previous research using French material and subjects has found that noun-adjective pairs are easier to recall than adjective-noun pairs, which suggests that linguistic rules are important in determining performance. However, experiments using English material have also suggested that noun-adjective phrases are easier, although in English these pairs violate grammatical conventions. The latter findings have been interpreted as supporting the view that mental imagery is important in remembering. However, these studies are faulty in various respects. In an experiment on free recall, using English material, the grammatical order (adjective-noun) was found to produce better performance than the reversed order (noun-adjective), but only because reversed phrases tended to be reported in the conventional order. This supports the original view that grammatical constraints affect recall.

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