We examined how well typical adult listeners remember the speech of a person with a voice disorder (relative to that of a person without a voice disorder). Participants (n
= 40) listened to two lists of words (one list uttered in a disordered voice and the other list uttered in a normal voice). After each list, participants completed a free recall test, in which they tried to remember as many words as they could. While the total number of words recalled did not differ between the disordered voice condition and the normal voice condition, an investigation of the serial-position curve revealed a difference. In the normal voice condition, a parabolic (i.e., u-shaped) serial-position curve was observed, with a significant primacy effect (i.e., the beginning of the list was remembered better than the middle) and a significant recency effect (i.e., the end of the list was remembered better than the middle). In contrast, in the disordered voice condition, while there was a significant recency effect, no primacy effect was present. Thus, the increased ability to remember the first words uttered by a speaker (relative to subsequent words) may disappear when the speaker has a voice disorder. Explanations and implications of this finding are discussed.
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