Concreteness effects revisited: the influence of dynamic visual noise on memory for concrete and abstract words

Memory. 2009 May;17(4):397-410. doi: 10.1080/09658210902802967.


Two experiments are presented that investigate the effects of dynamic visual noise (DVN) on memory for concrete and abstract words. Memory for concrete words is typically superior to that of abstract words and is referred to as the concreteness effect. DVN is a procedure that has been demonstrated to interfere selectively with visual working memory and the generation of images from long-term memory. It was reasoned that if concreteness effects arise because of the ability of the latter to activate visual representations, then DVN should selectively impair memory for concrete words. Experiment 1 found DVN to selectively reduce free recall of concrete words. Experiment 2 investigated recognition memory and found DVN to reduce memory accuracy and remember responses, while increasing know responses to concrete words.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Computer Terminals
  • Humans
  • Imagination
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Models, Psychological
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Perceptual Masking*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology
  • Semantics*
  • Vocabulary