Visuospatial bootstrapping: Spatialized displays enhance digit and nonword sequence learning
Allen, Richard J.
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Darling, S., Havelka, J., Allen, R. J., Bunyan, E. & Flornes, L. (2020) Visuospatial bootstrapping: Spatialized displays enhance digit and nonword sequence learning. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (In Press).
Visuospatial bootstrapping describes the observation that performance on a verbal memory task is enhanced by presenting the to-be-remembered material in a format with additional embedded spatial information. Thus far it has only been reported in short-term memory tasks. Here we report two experiments assessing the impact of spatial information on the learning of sequences in long term memory. Experiment 1 used digits presented within a familiar numeric keypad as stimuli compared against single digits presented in one location. Experiment 2 used novel nonwords which were either presented in an unchanging arrangement permitting the building-up of location knowledge or in a constantly changing arrangement. Both experiments demonstrated strong evidence that reliable spatial information facilitated sequence learning, particularly in later sequence positions. It is concluded that the incidental availability of spatialized information during study can facilitate learning of sequences of digits and nonwords. Furthermore the spatial information can be learned during the task itself, and does not need to be pre-existent in long-term knowledge.