04/12/2015 Medicine Psychology
DOI: 10.1038/srep17657 SemanticScholar ID: 10733870 MAG: 2236021287

The influence of input and output modality on following instructions in working memory

Publication Summary

Following instructions is an important component of learning and has been shown to rely on working memory. This study examined the ability to follow instructions within working memory under varying input and output modalities. In Experiment 1, participants heard, read, or viewed demonstration of short sequences of instructions, and recalled either by oral repetition or physical enactment. There was a significant main effect of encoding, showing superior recall performance when instructions were demonstrated relative to spoken or written presentation. Experiment 2 examined whether recall is further improved when instructions are presented both in spoken and demonstrated form, relative to single modality presentation. The advantage for demonstration over spoken instructions was replicated, and dual input was superior to spoken instructions. However, dual input did not bring extra benefit compared to demonstration of instructions. We also observed a significant enacted-retrieval recall advantage. These findings suggest effects of both input and output modalities on the ability to remember and follow instructions in working memory. Outcomes substantially inform the underexplored but important new area of action-based working memory and its links to embodied cognition, with implications for pedagogic practice.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Richard Allen

Dr. Richard Allen

University of Leeds - Associate Professor

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