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.
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...
References and Readings
- Schönwiesner, M., Novitski, N., Pakarinen, S., Carlson, S., Tervaniemi, M., & Näätänen, R. (2007). Heschl’s gyrus, posterior superior temporal gyrus, and mid-ventrolateral prefrontal cortex have different roles in the detection of acoustic changes. Journal of Neurophysiology, 97(3), 2075–2082.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar