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This article reports the results of a memory scanning experiment (S. Sternberg. 1966,
Seicnrc. 153, 652-654) in which each of four subjects participated in about 1500 experimental
trials per memory set sÍ7.c. These large samples made it possible to test a number of important
non parametric (i.e., model-free) properties of the response time (RT) distributions. These
properties place severe constraints on the various memory scanning models and they provide
a deeper description of the data than summary statistics or goodncss-of-fit values. I7ivc conclu-
sions stood out. First, increasing the size of the memory set induced the strongest possible
form of stochastic dominance on both large! present and largcl absent trials. Second, the RT
hazard functions were nonmonotonic, [hereby falsifying a large class of serial search models.
Third, strong evidence was obtained against an exhaustive search. Fourth, some evidence was
fun ml thai adding an item to the memory set inserts a stage with cxponenlially distributed
duration into the processing chain, al liras! on lar-;el absenl liials. Fifth, (he data supported
llu* hypothesis that thice oi llu: .snnjrcts stored the representations of the memory sei items
¡n a visual short-term memory system and the fourth subject used an acoustic short-term
system. To our knowledge, the only extant model of memory scanning thai is consistent
with all these results assumes thai search is parallel, self-terminating, and of very limited.
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