Narrative stories as mediators for serial learning

We examined the relationship between study-time on a list and later reeall of that list

Gordon H. Bower; Michal C. Clark


Scholarcy highlights

  • Subjects learned 12 serial lists of 10 nouns by one of two methods: a control method ofnormal study and rehearsal, ora narrative-chaining method, where S was instructed to construct a meaningful story woven around the words to be remembered
  • The critical words are to be woven into the story in the order they are to be recalled, and these words should be emphasized in some manner, e.g., by vocal stress, pausing, or by making them the main actors or objects in the narrative
  • A common additional prescription is that S should try to visualize the scenes he is constructing for linking the successive words
  • Our initial study with the chaining technique was done to see whether it "worked" efficiently in circumstances for which it plausibly might be efficient. These circumstances were self-paced exposure to the complete serial list, the critical recall units were content words, and S had a large number of lists to leam and remember, so that massive interference and forgetting would normally be expected for control Ss not using the narrative chaining technique
  • The times taken by the Narrative Ss to construct their story varied from 40 sec to 199 sec with agrand mean of 104 sec
  • We would presume that this thematic organization affeets leaming and that it reduces interference between the many Iists S is leaming

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