Auditory memory distortion for spoken prose

Joanna L. Hutchison, Timothy L. Hubbard, Blaise Ferrandino, Ryan Brigante, Jamie M. Wright, Bart Rypma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Observers often remember a scene as containing information that was not presented but that would have likely been located just beyond the observed boundaries of the scene. This effect is called boundary extension (BE; e.g., Intraub & Richardson, 1989). Previous studies have observed BE in memory for visual and haptic stimuli, and the present experiments examined whether BE occurred in memory for auditory stimuli (prose, music). Experiments 1 and 2 varied the amount of auditory content to be remembered. BE was not observed, but when auditory targets contained more content, boundary restriction (BR) occurred. Experiment 3 presented auditory stimuli with less content and BR also occurred. In Experiment 4, white noise was added to stimuli with less content to equalize the durations of auditory stimuli, and BR still occurred. Experiments 5 and 6 presented trained stories and popular music, and BR still occurred. This latter finding ruled out the hypothesis that the lack of BE in Experiments 1-4 reflected a lack of familiarity with the stimuli. Overall, memory for auditory content exhibited BR rather than BE, and this pattern was stronger if auditory stimuli contained more content. Implications for the understanding of general perceptual processing and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1469-1489
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Attention
  • Audition
  • Boundary extension
  • Boundary restriction
  • Central tendency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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