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The effect of bimodal input on implicit and explicit memory: An investigation into the benefits of within-language subtitling

  • STEPHEN A. BIRD (a1) and JOHN N. WILLIAMS (a1)


Two experiments examined the effect of single-modality (sound or text) and bimodal (sound and text) presentation on word learning, as measured by both improvements in spoken word recognition efficiency (long lag repetition priming) and recognition memory. Native and advanced nonnative speakers of English were tested. In Experiment 1 auditory lexical decisions on familiar words were equally primed by prior bimodal and sound-only presentation, whereas there were no priming effects for nonwords. Experiment 2 employed a rhyme judgment task using nonwords. Repetition priming of auditory rhyme judgment decisions was now obtained, and this was greater in the bimodal than the sound-only condition. In both experiments prior bimodal presentation improved recognition memory for spoken words and nonwords compared to single modality presentation. We conclude that simultaneous text presentation can aid novel word learning under certain conditions, as assessed by both explicit and implicit memory tests.


Corresponding author

John N. Williams, Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics, University of Cambridge, Keynes House, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1QA, United Kingdom. E-mail:


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