Macquarie University
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Long term associations and serial recall: using synaesthesia to probe memory for sequences

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posted on 2022-03-28, 12:00 authored by A. Lina Teichmann
In our daily lives, we constantly have to remember sequences such as telephone numbers, license plates or pin codes. How do we hold and recall information that is presented in a sequential manner? Recent interest in the field of serial recall has highlighted that long-term memory seems to interact with our ability to accurately recall sequences. In this thesis, I examine this interaction using overlearnt sequences of digits and letters, and by testing an unusual group with extremely consistent long-term links between digits and colours : synaesthetes. Fror grapheme-colour synaesthetes, letters and digits elicit vivid perceptions of colours. As grapheme-colour pairings are different between synaesthetes but highly consistent for each individual, synaesthesia offers a unique opportunity to examine the effect of long-term associations on immediate serial recall. A recent study suggests that serial colour memory in synaesthetes is not generally enhanced but that synaesthetic associations can, under certain circumstances, be used strategically to improve colour memory. By further exploring this link, we may gain a more detailed insight into the time course of backward translation between colours and digits in synaesthetes and are at the same time able to examine the effect of long-term knowledge on Immediate Serial Recall (ISR) of colours.


Table of Contents

1. Immediate serial recall : data, models and methodology -- 2. Synaesthesia and the effect of experience on serial recall -- 3. The generalisability of the effect of structure -- 4. General discussion : long term associations and serial recall.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 53-61

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Cognitive Science

Department, Centre or School

Department of Cognitive Science

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Anina Rich

Additional Supervisor 1

Thomas Carlson

Additional Supervisor 2

Mark R. Nieuwenstein


Copyright A. Lina Teichmann 2015. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (vii, 61 pages)

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