Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Echoic Memory

  • Ferrinne SpectorEmail author
  • Ahmad Alsemari
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1121


Auditory sensory memory


The term auditory sensory (echoic) memory refers to the brain’s ability to maintain short-lived but vivid recollections (echoes) of the acoustic qualities of simple auditory stimuli. Such recollections can persist for up to 30 s after the presentation of auditory stimulus, whether or not the listener attends to the stimulus.

Current Knowledge

The most common way to study echoic memory is to present two sounds (e.g., tones of the same or different pitch) that are separated by a delay, called an interstimulus interval (ISI). The task is to compare the sounds to make a subtle acoustic judgement (e.g., same or different). When there is silence between the sounds, performance is very good at short ISIs and declines exponentially at longer ISIs, reaching an asymptotically low level at ISIs longer than 10 s.

The time course of the decay of echoic memory is the same even if participants engage in silent mental activity during the ISI, regardless of...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PsychologyEdgewood CollegeMadisonUSA