Implicit verbal chaining in paired--associate learning
Russell, W.A.; Storms, L.H.
Journal of Experimental Psychology 49(4): 287-293
This experiment was designed to study the effects of mediating verbal processes on paired-associate learning when the mediating process is implemented in part by pre-existing language habits and extends over more than one implicit verbal term. First, 10 chains of word associations, B-C-D, were constructed from normative data on association frequencies. Twenty-three female college Ss then learned a list of A-B pairs where the A terms were the initial members of the chains described above. The test situation required that Ss learn another list consisting of A-D and A-X pairs. The D terms were the final members of the associative word chains, and the X terms were not associated with any of the chains. A control experiment revealed that the A-D and A-X pairs did not differ in difficulty in the absence of chaining possibilities. It was found the A-D pairs were learned significantly faster, and elicited earlier in learning, than the A-X pairs. It was concluded that implicit verbal chains of more than one link mediated these effects. Reasons for these results being even more clear-cut than those of schematically simpler previous experiments were discussed.