Primacy and recency effects as indices of the focus of attention.

Article Analysis

Using the South University Online Library, find two peer-reviewed journal articles on primacy and recency effects. In your synopsis, you will include:

  • A summary of each of the journal articles
  • The main points discussed in each of the journal articles and how they relate to the week’s course and text readings
  • Your thoughts and perspectives regarding the concepts covered in each of the journal articles
Title: Primacy and recency effects as indices of the focus of attention.
Authors: Morrison, Alexandra B.. Department of Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, US,
Conway, Andrew R. A.. Department of Psychology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, US
Chein, Jason M.. Department of Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, US
Address: Morrison, Alexandra B., Department of Psychology, University of Miami, 5665 Ponce de Leon, Miami, FL, US, 33158,
Source: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Vol 8, Jan 24, 2014. ArtID: 6
NLM Title Abbreviation: Front Hum Neurosci
Publisher: Switzerland : Frontiers Media S.A.
Other Publishers: Switzerland : Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN: 1662-5161 (Electronic)
Language: English
Keywords: working memory, focus of attention, primacy effect, recency effect, phonological rehearsal, medial temporal lobe, fMRI
Abstract: Ongoing debate surrounds the capacity and characteristics of the focus of attention. The present study investigates whether a pattern of larger recency effects and smaller primacy effects reported in previous working memory studies is specific to task conditions used in those studies, or generalizes across manipulations of task-demand. Two experiments varied task-demands by requiring participants to remember lists of letters and to then respond to a subsequent two-item probe by indicating either the item that was presented later in the list (judgment of recency) or the item was presented earlier (judgment of primacy). Analyses tested the prediction that a WM task emphasizing later items in a list (judgment of recency) would encourage exaggerated recency effects and attenuated primacy effects, while a task emphasizing earlier items (judgment of primacy) would encourage exaggerated primacy effects and attenuated recency effects. Behavioral results from two experiments confirmed this prediction. In contrast to past studies, fMRI contrasts revealed no brain regions where activity was significantly altered by the presence of recency items in the probe, for either task condition. However, presence of the primacy item in the probe significantly influenced activity in frontal lobe brain regions linked to active maintenance, but the location and direction of activation changes varied as a function of task instructions. In sum, two experiments demonstrate that the behavioral and neural signatures of WM, specifically related to primacy and recency effects, are dependent on task-demands. Findings are discussed as they inform models of the structure and capacity of WM. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)
Document Type: Journal Article
Subjects: *Attention; *Phonology; *Primacy Effect; *Recency Effect; *Short Term Memory; Temporal Lobe; Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
PsycINFO Classification: Attention (2346)
Population: Human
Age Group: Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Tests & Measures: Word Recognition Task
Judgment of Recency Task
Item Recognition Task
Methodology: Brain Imaging; Empirical Study; Quantitative Study
Supplemental Data: Other Internet
Format Covered: Electronic
Publication Type: Journal; Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication History: First Posted: Jan 24, 2014; Accepted: Jan 6, 2014; First Submitted: Sep 12, 2013
Release Date: 20140728
Correction Date: 20200706
Copyright: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.. Morrison, Conway and Chein. 2014
Digital Object Identifier:
PMID: 24478672
Accession Number: 2014-10902-001
Number of Citations in Source: 48
Persistent link to this record (Permalink):
Cut and Paste: Primacy” class=”redactor-linkify-object”>… and recency effects as indices of the focus of attention.
Database: APA PsycInfo


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