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Positive transfer as a function of the degree of inter-list stimulus similarity and initial list learning Shanahan, Eileen Marie 1958

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POSITIVE TRANSFER AS A FUNCTION OF THE DEGREE OF INTER-LIST STIMULUS SIMILARITY AND INITIAL LIST LEARNING by EILEEN MARIE SHANAHAN A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of PSYCHOLOGY We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the standard required from candidates for the degree of MASTER OF ARTS Members of the Department of Psychology THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1958 POSITIVE TRANSFER AS A Ft.. /ION OF THE DEGREE OF INTER-LIST STIMULUS SIMILARITY AND INITIAL LIST LEARNING Abstract The present study was designed to test the hypothesis that positive > transfer is a function of the degree of inter-list stimulus similarity, and the degree of learning of an i n i t i a l l i s t . More specifically, the following hypotheses, derived from E. J. Gibson's theory of verbal learn-ing, were tested: 1. Positive transfer is a function of inter-list stimulus similari-ty. A decrease of inter-list stimulus similarity will result in a de-crease in the amount of positive transfer. 2. Less positive transfer will occur to a second l i s t i f practice of .ah i n i t i a l l i s t is continued after discrimination has been established among the stimulus items. The effect of the interaction between inter-list stimulus similarity and the degree of i n i t i a l l i s t learning was also assessed. Since the status of Gibson's theory did not enable the deduction of a hypothesis, the null hypothesis was tested. Sixty subjects learned an i n i t i a l l i s t of eleven stimulus forms paired with nonsense syllables of zero associative value. The subjects were required to learn each syllable so that they could spell i t when the appropriate form was presented. Learning was by the method of right as-sociates, and material was presented at the rate of two seconds per item, with a six second interval between trials. Thirty of the subjects learned this l i s t to a criterion of one perfect recitation, and the other thirty subjects learned i t to a criterion of five consecutive perfect recitations. When the criterion had been reached, the subjects were given a ten minute interval in which-to rate a series of thirty jokes. The subjects were then assigned to three groups. Each group consisted of ten subjects who had learned the i n i t i a l l i s t to a criterion of one perfect recitation, and ten who had learned i t to five consecutive perfect recitations. As a transfer task, each group received a different l i s t of paired associates, whose stimulus members were of either medium, low or zero similarity to those of the i n i t i a l l i s t . Each group learned this task to a criterion of one perfect recitation. Th8 main findings and conclusions of the study were as follows: 1 . Positive transfer is a function of the degree of inter-list stim-ulus similarity. Significantly less transfer occurs to a l i s t of zero similarity than to a l i s t of medium similarity or to one of low similari-ty. There is no significant difference between the amount of transfer to a l i s t of medium similarity and the amount of transfer to one of low simi-larity. This indicates that the relationship between positive transfer and inter-list stimulus similarity is indirect, whereas Gibson's theory indicates that the relationship should be linear. 2. Increasing the degree of i n i t i a l l i s t learning from one perfect recitation to five consecutive perfect recitations does not significantly decrease the amount of positive transfer. This was considered to be an inadequate test of Gibson's hypothesis, because the criterion of one per-fect recitation did not allow discrimination to be established among the items. 3 . There is no interaction between inter-list stimulus similarity and the degree of i n i t i a l l i s t learning. ACI3TOTO3DGEMENT The writer wishes to express her appreciation and thanks to her advisor, Dr. D. T. Kenny, for his encouragement and helpful sugges-tions. She wishes also to thank Mr. A. F. Shirran for his a s s i s -tance i n obtaining subjects for t h i s study. TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE I STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM 1 I I REVIEW OF RELATED RESEARCH 7 I I I EXPERIMENTAL MATERIALS, SUBJECTS AND PROCEDURE 14 Materials 14 Subjects 16 Procedure 18 IV THE DATA AND THEIR TREATMENT 21 V DISCUSSION OF THE RESULTS 31 VI STJMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 56 REFERENCES 39 APPENDICES 40 A The Set of Jokes and Rating Scale 40 B Means and Standard Deviations of Cr i t e r i o n Measures for L i s t I and L i s t I I 47 TABLES TABLE I I I I I I IV V PAGE Experimental Conditions 19 Analysis of Variance of Scores on Learning of L i s t I to a C r i t e r i o n of One Perfect Recitation 22 Analysis of Variance of Number of Syllables Correct on F i r s t Recall T r i a l of L i s t I I with Three Degrees of S i m i l a r i t y and Two Degrees of L i s t I Learning 23 Comparison of F i r s t R ecall T r i a l of L i s t I I for Three Degress of S i m i l a r i t y 25 Analysis of Variance of T r i a l s to Reach C r i t e r i o n of One Perfect Recitation of L i s t I I with Three Degrees of S i m i l a r i t y and Two Degrees of L i s t I Learning 28 VI Comparison of T r i a l s to One Perfect Recitation of L i s t I I for Three Degrees of S i m i l a r i t y 29 FIGURES FIGURE PAGE Schematic Plan of a Three-Item L i s t of Paired Associates, Showing Right Excitatory Tendencies and Generalized Excitatory Tendencies 2 Stimulus Forms, Response Sy l l a b l e s , and Percent-ages of Generalization to Original Presentation of Standard Forms 17 Number of Syllables Correct on F i r s t R e call T r i a l of L i s t I I as a Function of I n t e r - L i s t Stimulus S i m i l a r i t y 26 Number of T r i a l s to One Perfect Recitation of L i s t I I as a Function of I n t e r - L i s t Stimulus S i m i l a r i t y . 30 CHAPTER I STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Transfer of t r a i n i n g phenomena have, as well as p r a c t i c a l s i g n i f i -cance, major implications for learning theory. E. J. Gibson»s (4) theory of verbal learning i s one of the important theories which has been pro-posed to explain and predict transfer phenomena. This theory attempts to explain transfer phenomena by applying p r i n c i p l e s and concepts from con-d i t i o n i n g theory. Gibson begins her analysis of paired associate learning by defining an excitatory tendency as "the tendency for a particular stimulus to evoke a particular response i n a capacity greater than zero" (4 p. 205). Gibson distinguishes two kinds of excitatory tendencies: r i g h t excitatory tendencies, and generalised excitatory tendencies. Right excitatory ten-dencies, set up between the stimulus and response members of a pair, lead to correct responses. Generalized excitatory tendencies, set up between sti m u l i and responses other than members of a pair, are the re s u l t of generalization, or a lack of discrimination, between two stimulus itsms i n a l i s t . The strength of any generalized excitatory tendency i s a func-t i o n of the degree of generalization between the stimulus members involved. Since a l l s t i m u l i within a l i s t w i l l not necessarily generalize to the same degree, generalizing tendencies may vary i n strength. Figure I, a schematic plan of a l i s t of paired associates, indicates the two kinds of tendencies. The effect of generalized excitatory tendencies w i l l be determined by the relationship between the response members of the gener-a l i z i n g s t i m u l i . 2 Figure 1. Schematic plan of a three-item l i s t of paired associates, showing r i g h t excitatory tendencies ( and generalized excitatory tendencies ( ^ ). ( After Gibson, 4, p. 198. ) 3 I f a ri g h t excitatory tendency and a generalized one are evoked by the same stimulus, the resultant of the two tendencies w i l l be stronger than either tendency alone. I f the responses to two generalizing s t i m u l i are the same, the right excitatory tendency and the generalized excitatory tendency w i l l coincide. Thus, i f S a and S D generalize and R a and Rfc a r e the same, S a —:>R a and S a — R D w i l l coincide. The resultant of these two tendencies w i l l be stronger than either Sa—^>Ra o r Sa > Rb alone. Since the strength of Sa—7" Rb i s a function of the degree of the general-i z a t i o n between S a and Sb , learning w i l l be easier i n proportion to the degree of generalization between S a and S D. I f the responses to two generalizing s t i m u l i are dif f e r e n t , the r i g h t excitatory tendency w i l l be blocked by the generalized excitatory tendency, i n proportion to the strength of ths l a t t e r . Thus, i f Sa and Sb general-ize and R a and Rb are diff e r e n t , S a ^R a w i l l be blocked by S a — ^ Rb, i n proportion to the strength of S a—^- Rfc. The greater the degree of general-i z a t i o n between Sa and Sb, the stronger w i l l be Sa—^Rb» and the greater the blocking. Generalizing tendencies must be weakened i n order that the correct response can occur. These can be weakened only by rei n f o r c i n g correct responses. Gibson defines reinforcement as "a process which oc-curs during verbal learning when a subject sees a response as he had an-tici p a t e d i t , and thinks 'That's r i g h t * M (4, p. 205). The amount of re-inforcement required to weaken any generalizing tendency w i l l be a func-t i o n of the strength of that particular generalizing tendency. When a l i s t of paired associates i s presented for learning, there i s an i n i t i a l increase i n the tendency for stimulus members to generalize with each other. Generalization reaches a peak early i n learning. As 4 practice i s continued, generalization progressively decreases u n t i l a l l the s t i m u l i are discriminated from one another. Thereafter, these s t i m u l i w i l l tend to generalize less with new stimulus items, the decrease i n generalization "being proportional to the amount of d i f f e r e n t i a l r e i n -forcement given. So f a r this discussion has been concerned only with generalization between the members of one l i s t . But Gibson states that i f stimulus mem-bers generalize with each other when presented i n the form of one l i s t , they w i l l do so, with the same re l a t i v e degree of generalization, when presented i n the form of two l i s t s (4, p. 207). Gibson states that positive transfer w i l l occur when the sti m u l i of two l i s t s generalize, i f the nature of the discrimination established i n the f i r s t l i s t i s ben e f i c i a l to the second l i s t . Thus, i f each stimu-lus member of one l i s t has a generalizing member with the same response i n the second l i s t , learning w i l l be f a c i l i t a t e d . The greater the degree of generalization between the stimulus members of the two l i s t s , the great-er w i l l be the positive transfer. One of the conditions a f f e c t i n g generalization i s s i m i l a r i t y , which Gibson defines as, "a condition e x i s t i n g between stimulus members which causes them to generalize" (4, p. 208). Therefore, the greater the simi-l a r i t y between two s t i m u l i , the greater w i l l be t h e i r tendency to generalize with each other. I t would be predicted that i f the stimulus members of two l i s t s are s i m i l a r , and i f s i m i l a r members have the same response, then the greater the s i m i l a r i t y between the stimulus members of the two l i s t s , the greater w i l l be the positive transfer. The present study i s an attempt to test this hypothesis. Three groups 5 of subjects learned the same i n i t i a l l i s t of paired associates. Then each group was given a different transfer task. One group learned a second li s t of paired associates whose stimulus members were of medium similarity to those of the i n i t i a l l i s t . The second group learned one whose stimulus members were of a low degree of similarity. The third group learned a l i s t whose stimulus members were of zero similarity. It was predicted that there would be less positive transfer to a l i s t of low or zero similarity than to one of medium similarity, and less to a l i s t of zero than to one of low inter-list similarity. Secondly, this study tests, with respect to positive transfer, the hypothesis that i f practice of a l i s t is continued after the stimulus members of the l i s t have been discriminated from each other, they will generalize less with new stimuli. According to Gibson, less positive trans-fer should occur to a second l i s t i f practice of an i n i t i a l l i s t is con-tinued after discrimination has been established among the stimulus items. Although Gibson has not operationally defined when discrimination will be established, it appears to be at the point when right responses will be evoked by a l l the stimulus members of the l i s t . Therefore, for the purpose of this study, when a subject has learned the l i s t to one perfect recitation the point of discrimination has been reached. Consequently, when a subject has learned a l i s t to five consecutive perfect recitations, the point of discrimination has been passed. Two groups of subjects learn-ed the same in i t i a l l i s t of paired associates. One group learned the l i s t to one perfect recitation, the other learned it to five consecutive -perfect recitations. The same transfer task was then given to both groups, who learned this l i s t to one perfect recitation. It was predicted that less 6 positive transfer would occur when the l i s t was learned to a criterion of five consecutive perfect recitations than i f i t were learned to one perfect recitation. This experimental design also makes i t possible to assess the signi-ficance of interaction betvjeen inter-list stimulus similarity and the degree of learning of the in i t i a l l i s t . Since no prediction could be made from Gibson's theory, a null hypothesis was tested. CHAPTER I I REVIEW OF RELATED RESEARCH Int e r - L i s t S i m i l a r i t y Studies The f i r s t experimental treatment of the hypothesis that positive transfer i s a function of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y was reported by Yum (11) i n a series of three studies. In the f i r s t study, subjects were required to learn a l i s t of hyphenated nonsense syllab l e s t i m u l i (e. g. REB-QIM) paired with f o u r - l e t t e r word responses (a. g. WOLF). As a trans-fer task, a second l i s t , i n which stimulus s i m i l a r i t y was varied by chang-ing one or more l e t t e r s of the hyphenated syllables and varying the pos i t i o n of the changed l e t t e r s , was presented. The degree of stimulus s i m i l a r i t y , defined as the number of l e t t e r s changed, did not s i g n i f i c a n t l y a l t e r the amount of positive transfer. However, the locus or position of change proved s i g n i f i c a n t . Changing the f i r s t or the middle l e t t e r s of either s y l l a b l e reduced transfer s i g n i f i c a n t l y , but changing the l a s t l e t t e r of either s y l l a b l e did not. Furthermore, changing the f i r s t l e t t e r of either syllable resulted i n s i g n i f i c a n t l y less transfer than changing the middle l e t t e r of either s y l l a b l e . In the second experiment of the series, two groups of subjects learned a l i s t of paired associates with meaningful word stimulus and response members. As a transfer task, one group received a l i s t with stimulus members quite similar i n meaning to those of the i n i -t i a l l i s t and the other group received one with stimulus members moderately similar ( s i m i l a r i t y of meaning had previously been determined by judges» rat i n g s ) . There was s i g n i f i c a n t l y more transfer when s i m i l a r i t y was great-est. In the t h i r d study, four groups- of subjects learned a l i s t consisting 8 of v i s u a l stimulus patterns paired with meaningful word responses. As a transfer task, each group received one of four l i s t s , the stimulus members of each l i s t judged to be of a different degree of s i m i l a r i t y to those of the i n i t i a l l i s t . The results indicated that positive transfer was a func-t i o n of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . In his study, McKinney (9) used four geometric figures as s t i m u l i , to which subjects responded with various l e t t e r s of the alphabet. The amount of transfer, when stimulus figures were altered 10%, 20% or 30%, was tested. For example, one of the figures was a four centimetre l i n e perpendicular to an eight centimetre l i n e at i t s center, producing a figure which looked l i k e a cross with one arm missing. A 10% a l t e r a t i o n of t h i s figure would be one with 10% taken o f f any arm, or 3 l / 3 % taken off each arm simultan-eously. Alterations of 20% and 30% were made i n a similar manner. Per-centage of transfer was found to decrease as a function of the degree of a l t e r a t i o n , i f the locus of a l t e r a t i o n remained constant. However, the percentage of transfer was not proportional to the percentage of a l t e r a -t i o n . More transfer was obtained when the st i m u l i were altered symmetri-c a l l y ( i . e., when a l l the arms of the figure were reduced simultaneously) than when the s t i m u l i were altered asymmetrically ( i . e., when only one or two arms of the figure were reduced). McKLnney's explanation was that the meaning or quality of a stimulus i s changed when i t i s altered asy-mmetrically: since a stimulus i s a function not only of i t s mass or quan-t i t y , but also of the manner i n which that quantity i s dis t r i b u t e d . Hamilton (6) studied both positive transfer and retroactive f a c i l i t a -t i o n as a function of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . The stimulus figures used i n this study were those standardized by Gibson (5). These materials 9 consisted of thirteen forms (the standard l i s t ) , and three sets of varia-tions of the standard l i s t . In the first l i s t the figures were of medium similarity; in the second, of low similarity; and in the third, of zero similarity. The thirteen figures of the standard l i s t were paired with nonsense syllables, and presented for learning to five groups of subjects. When a criterion of 8/l3 correct responses had been reached, learning was discontinued. A four-minute rest period, during which the subjects read Life or The Mew Yorker, or talked to the experimenter, followed for four of the groups. A second task was introduced: the first group relearned the standard l i s t , the second received the medium similarity l i s t , the third received the low similarity l i s t , and the fourth received the zero similarity l i s t . Each group learned the second l i s t to a criterion of 8/13 correct responses in approximately sixteen minutas. The f i f t h group had a twenty minute rest period, during which they read Life or The New  Yorker, or talked to the experimenter. Then a l l groups rslearned the standard l i s t to a criterion of one perfect recitation. A gradient of positive transfer as a function of inter-list stimulus similarity was ob-tained, but only the difference between the group receiving the medium similarity l i s t and the zero similarity l i s t was significant. The same gradient was obtained using retroaction measures, and again only the dif-ference between the group receiving the medium similarity l i s t and the group receiving the zero similarity l i s t was significant. Bugelski and Gadwallader (2) also used Gibson's (5) standardized stimulus figures in their study of transfer and retroaction effects. The thirteen figures of the standard l i s t were paired with meaningful words, and presented for learning to four groups of subjects. Tha materials were 10 presented on cards, and an item was dropped from the pack when i t had been correctly anticipated on two successive t r i a l s . When a l l the items had been learned to t h i s c r i t e r i o n , a l l the groups were given a two min-ute rest period. A second task was then introduced: the f i r s t group re-ceived the medium s i m i l a r i t y l i s t , the second group received the low sim-i l a r i t y l i s t , and the t h i r d received the zero s i m i l a r i t y l i s t . The c r i -t e r i o n of learning for t h i s l i s t was the same as for the i n i t i a l l i s t . The fourth group read The New Yorker for eight minutes. After a two min-ute rest period a l l groups were tested for r e c a l l of the standard l i s t . P ositive transfer increased as a function of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r -i t y , but the only s i g n i f i c a n t difference was that between the group re-ceiving the medium s i m i l a r i t y l i s t and the one receiving the zero s i m i l -a r i t y l i s t . Retroactive f a c i l i t a t i o n increased as a function of i n t e r -l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . Studies of the Degree of I n i t i a l Task Learning Atwater (1) used a verbal learning s i t u a t i o n to study positive trans-fer as a function of the degree of i n i t i a l task learning. Four groups of subjects learned a l i s t of ten paired associates, consisting of three-l e t t e r words as stimulus and response members. The degrees of learning for the four groups ware: no learning, six correct responses, one perfect r e c i t a t i o n plus five t r i a l s , and one perfect r e c i t a t i o n plus f i f t e e n t r i a l s . The four groups were given the same transfer task, that of learn-ing the responses of the i n i t i a l l i s t to new s t i m u l i . A l l groups learned 11 t h i s l i s t to a c r i t e r i o n of one perfect r e c i t a t i o n plus f i v e t r i a l s . P ositive transfer was a function of the degree of i n i t i a l task learning, and a l l differences i n the amount of transfer among the four degrees of learning were s i g n i f i c a n t . In his study, Mandler (V) used a switchboard apparatus which had s i x switches arranged i n a hexagon. Five groups of subjects responded to each of four l e t t e r s of the alphabet by operating the correct sequence of three switches on t h i s switchboard. The groups were given 0, 10, 30, 50, or 100 errorless t r i a l s . After the c r i t e r i o n had been reached, there was a three minute rest period. The same transfer task, learning the responses of the i n i t i a l task to new s t i m u l i , was then given to a l l groups. A l l groups learned t h i s task to a c r i t e r i o n of two successive, errorless repetitions or twenty t r i a l s , whichever occured l a s t . P o sitive transfer was a function of the degree of i n i t i a l task learning, but only the d i f -ference between the group which had no learning and the one given 100 error-less t r i a l s was s i g n i f i c a n t . In an attempt to determine the generality of Handler's (7) findings for motor behavior, Mandler and Heinemann (8) have conducted a comparable study using verbal materials. In t h i s study the procedure was the same as for Mandler's (7) study, except that the materials used were single integer numbers as s t i m u l i , paired with three-place consonant nonsense sy l l a b l e s . P ositive transfer increased as a function of the degree of i n i t i a l task learning. There was no s i g n i f i c a n t difference i n the amount of positive transfer with 0, 10, or 30 errorless t r i a l s , but with 50 error-less t r i a l s there was a s i g n i f i c a n t increase of positive transfer. With 12 100 errorless t r i a l s there was s i g n i f i c a n t l y more transfer than with 50 t r i a l s . A much greater increment i n the number of t r i a l s was required to produce a s i g n i f i c a n t increase i n the amount of positive transfer when motor learning was involved than when verbal materials were used. Col-lege students were the subjects for both studies, and the differences between the results of the two studies were explained i n terms of the subjects used. College students are more adept at recombining units of verbal behavior than those of motor tasks. Studies Investigating Inter-Task Stimulus S i m i l a r i t y and Degree of I n i t i a l  Task Learning and Interaction Between Them The only available study of positive transfer as a function of both inter-task stimulus s i m i l a r i t y and the degree of i n i t i a l task learning i s that of Duncan (3). He used an apparatus consisting of s i x s l o t s ar-ranged r a d i a l l y on a panel. While holding a lever steady with h i s l e f t hand, each subject responded to each of six colored l i g h t s t i m u l i by mov-ing, with his ri g h t hand, a driver into the correct s l o t . The subjects were given 10, 40, 80 or 180 t r i a l s of t h i s task. Then the subjects were given one of three transfer tasks, each of a di f f e r e n t degree of stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . In the most similar task, four l i g h t - s l o t combina-tions remained the same as for the f i r s t task; i n a l e s s similar task, only two l i g h t - s l o t combinations remained the same; i n the least simi-l a r task, a l l the l i g h t s were paired with different s l o t s . Transfer was positive for a l l groups, and was a function of both the degree of i n t e r -task stimulus s i m i l a r i t y and the degree of i n i t i a l task learning. He 13 found no interaction between inter-task stimulus s i m i l a r i t y and the de-gree of i n i t i a l task learning. Summary of Related Research Available data lend support to the hypothesis that positive trans-fer i s a function of inter-task stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . The hypothesis that positive transfer decreases with a high degree of learning of the i n i t i a l task i s not supported. Positive transfer has been found to i n -crease with high degrees of i n i t i a l task learning. No available study indicates interaction between inter-task stimulus s i m i l a r i t y and the de-gree of i n i t i a l task learning. CHAPTER I I I EXPERIMEETAL MATERIALS, SUBJECTS AND PROCEDURE Experimental Materials The stimulus materials used i n t h i s study are those which were stan-dardized by E. J. Gibson (5) for use i n her study of retroactive i n h i b i -t i o n as a function of the degree of generalization between tasks. Gib-son drew thirteen standard forms and a number of variations of each of them. These forms were given to a group of ten judges, who were asked to select, for each standard form, the va r i a t i o n which was most similar to the standard, one which was less s i m i l a r , and one which was d i s s i m i l a r . This procedure gave four sets of forms: thirteen standard forms, thirteen variations of medium s i m i l a r i t y , thirteen variations of low s i m i l a r i t y , and thirteen d i s s i m i l a r variations. A l i s t composed of the thirteen standard forms, each paired with a different nonsense s y l l a b l e , was given to a group of subjects to learn by the paired associates method. Twenty-four hours l a t e r , the subjects were given one of several r e c a l l l i s t s . Each of these l i s t s was composed of four standard forms, three variations of medium s i m i l a r i t y , three variations of low s i m i l a r i t y , and three variations of no s i m i l a r i t y , so that, i n each l i s t , each standard form was represented by the standard form or by a va r i a t i o n . Gibson calculated an objective measure of gen-e r a l i z a t i o n for each standard fonn and v a r i a t i o n by determining the per-centage of subjects who responded to each form by giving the response with which the standard form was paired i n the f i r s t l i s t . In only two 15 instances was there disagreement between the objective and subjective ratings. The judges had rated one va r i a t i o n as being of low s i m i l a r i t y and another as being of zero s i m i l a r i t y . Objective measures showed a reversal of these ratings. When the l i s t s were arranged i n agreement with the objective ratings, the res u l t was four l i s t s of thirteen figures each: the standard l i s t , with an average of 84.5$ generalization to thei r o r i g i n a l presentation; the medium s i m i l a r i t y l i s t , with an average of 41.1% generalization to the o r i g i n a l presentation of the standard forms; the low s i m i l a r i t y l i s t , with an average of 9.7$ generalization to the o r i g i n a l presentation of the standard forms; and the zero s i m i l a r i t y l i s t , which generalized 0% with the o r i g i n a l presentation of the standard forms. In the present study only eleven of the thirteen forms are used. Yariations of two of the standard forms i n both the low and the zero sim-i l a r i t y l i s t s yielded measures of zero generalization. Otherwise, Gibson's four l i s t s were used without further a l t e r a t i o n . To each of the eleven standard forms a nonsense s y l l a b l e of zero associative value, drawn from Glaze's (10) calibrated l i s t s of rt'onsense s y l l a b l e s , was assigned. The same nonsense s y l l a b l e was assigned to a form and a l l i t s variations. To reduce response generalization, two conditions were imposed upon the selection of the syll a b l e s : no two syllables may begin with the same l e t t e r , and no two syl l a b l e s may end with the same l e t t e r . Figure 2 shows the eleven forms with t h e i r respective variations, nonsense s y l l a b l e names, and the percentages of generalization as determined by Gibson. Twenty-four random orders of the standard forms were used i n the 16 o r i g i n a l learning and r e c a l l situations.' Bach l i s t v/as constructed by-drawing, with India ink on a sheet of drawing paper, the thirteen stand-ard forms, one below the other. Each stimulus figure was -J" x The respective nonsense s y l l a b l e names were typed i n c a p i t a l l e t t e r s to the ri g h t of each stimulus form. The r e c a l l orders were constructed i n the same way, except that blank spaces were substituted for response names. Since subjects were to learn the standard l i s t by the method of righ t associates, the material was mounted on a memory drum so that a learning order was always followed by a r e c a l l order. A blank space was l e f t bet-ween each order so that no material was v i s i b l e when the memory drum was stopped between t r i a l s . The memory drum was regulated to allow an ex-posure time of two seconds per item. Material for the transfer task was prepared and mounted i n the same manner. A series of t h i r t y jokes, which the subjects were instructed to rate on a five-point humour rating scale, was prepared for use as an i n t e r p o l -ated a c t i v i t y during the ten minutes after the completion of the learning of the standard l i s t . This a c t i v i t y was introduced to enable the experi-menter to arrange the materials for the transfer task, and to reduce the subject's fatigue. This material w i l l be found i n Appendix A. Subjects The si x t y subjects were volunteers from a class i n Introductory Psy-chology and from a class i n Psychological Testing at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia. Subjects, i f they were unable to learn the i n i t i a l l i s t i n the a l l o t t e d time of-one hour, were eliminated. 17 STANDARD MEDIUM LOW ZERO % of Forms general-i z a t i o n % of Forms general-i z a t i o n % of % of Forms general- Forms general- RB-i z a t i o n i z a t i o n SPONSE / 93% 76% 96% / 84% 72% 25% 11% 7% 0% YUZ TOY GOQ, 93% 28% 8% 0% MEF p 90% P . 83% 32% 0% ZIL 88% CO 21% 0 17% 0% WUH 74% 21% A 4% 0% JIC 88% 11% 10% 0% QUS 67% <? 11% 3% 1 0% VUK CO 95% CO 12% OO 4% 0% DAX (? 93% (J 80% 5% 0% LAJ Average G-eneral- 85.7% 44.2% 11.0% 0% i z a t i o n Figure 2. Stimulus forms, response s y l l a b l e s , and percentages of generalization to o r i g i n a l presentation of standard forms. 18 Procedure Table I outlines the six experimental conditions used in this study. Ten subjects were randomly assigned to each of the six conditions. Learn-ing was by the method of right associates. At the beginning of the experimental period, the subject was seated in front of the memory drum and given the following instructions: "You will be shown a group of forms. Each form is paired with a nonsense syllable. The pairs will appear in this slot, one pair at a time. After the l i s t has been shown to you, you will be shown the forms by themselves, one at' a time, to see if you remember the nonsense syllable name. If you do remem-ber the name, spell out the letters. For example, a form might ba something like a triangle, and its name, Y-U-M. Then you will be shown a l l the pairs again, then another test to see i f you remember the names, and so on, until you know a l l the names. Even i f you have spelled the name out on one t r i a l , you must continue to say i t on a l l successive trials. Do not learn the pairs in any particular order because the order will be changed every time. The point is to associate a particular nonsense syllable with the form with which i t always appears. Are there any questions?" The standard l i s t (List I) was then given to each subject. Each item was exposed for two seconds; there was a six second interval between tri a l When the criterion, either one perfect recitation or five consecutive per-fect recitations, had been reached, the subject was told: "Good. Now I would like you to come over here, and sit down at the table. I have a series of jokes for you to rate. Read these instruc tions, and than begin rating the jokes, according to the instructions Ten minutes was allowed for this activity. During this time, the ex-perimenter arranged the materials for the transfer task. Then the subject was told: "You may leave that now, and finish i t later. I have another l i s t of forms paired with nonsense syllables for you to learn. The procedure will be exactly the same as for the first l i s t . " 19 TABLE I EXPERBJENTAL CONDITIONS Condition Number of Perfect Recitations of Standard L i s t I Degree of Generaliza-t i o n of L i s t I I A B C D E F One One One Five consecutive Five consecutive Five consecutive Medium Low Zero Medium Low Zero 20 The transfer task was then introduced. The subject received L i s t I I , which was either the medium, low or zero s i m i l a r i t y l i s t , depending upon the condition to which the subject had been assigned. The procedure was exactly the same as for the learning of the f i r s t l i s t , except that each subject learned t h i s task to a c r i t e r i o n of one perfect r e c i t a t i o n . This completed the experiment proper, and the subject was not required to return to the interpolated a c t i v i t y . CHAPTER IV THE DATA AND THEIR TREATMENT Before one can determine the effect of the experimental variables on positive transfer, i t i s necessary to determine -what e f f e c t , i f any, i n i t i a l differences among the s i x groups had upon the r e s u l t s . Since a l l the various groups learned the same i n i t i a l l i s t , L i s t I, to at l e a s t one perfect r e c i t a t i o n , the learning equality of the groups before the experi-mental variables were introduced can be determined. Comparison of the number of t r i a l s required by each group to reach t h i s c r i t e r i o n was made, using the analysis of variance technique. The means and standard devia-tions of these measures are given i n Appendix B, Table I. The analysis of variance i s given i n Table I I . The F value of 1.22 was not s i g n i f i c a n t at the b% l e v e l , which indicates that the s i x groups were members of a common population. Therefore, any differences obtained among the s i x groups on the transfer-task ( L i s t II) should be attributable to the ex-perimental variables introduced beyond the point of one perfect r e c i t a t i o n of L i s t I . The analysis of variance technique was used to assess the significance of differences i n positive transfer as a function of the experimental variables. The number of syllables correct on the f i r s t r e c a l l t r i a l of L i s t I I was used as a measure of transfer. The means and standard devia-tions are given i n Appensix B, Table I I . The analysis of variance i s given i n Table I I I . The F value of 34.05, obtained for the degree of i n -t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y , was greater than the value of 5.01 required for significance at the 1% l e v e l . The F value of 0.32, obtained for the 22 TABLE I I ANALYSIS OF VARIANCE OF SCORES ON LEARNING OF LIST I TO A CRITERION OF ONE PERFECT RECITATION Source of Sums of Mean Vari a t i o n df Squares Square Between Groups 5 583.73 116.74 1.22 Within Groups 54 5142.00 95.22 Total 59 5725.73 23 TABLE I I I ANALYSIS OF VARIANCE OF NUMBER OF SYLLABLES CORRECT ON FIRST RECALL TRIAL OF LIST I I WITH THREE DEGREES OF SIMILARITY AND TWO DEGRESS OF LIST I LEARNING Source of Sums of Mean Var i a t i o n df Squares Square F S i m i l a r i t y 2 284.63 142.31 34.05 * Learning 1 1.35 1.35 0.32 Interaction 2 11.10 5.55 1.33 Error 54 225.50 4.18 Total 59 522.58 * Significant at the .01 l e v e l . 24 degree of learning of L i s t I, was less than the value of 4.02 required for significance at the 5$ l e v e l . The F value of 1.33, obtained f o r i n t e r -a ction between i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y and the degree of learning of L i s t I, was less than the value of 3*17 required for significance at the 5$ l e v e l . Thus, the degree of i n t e r l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y was the only variable s i g n i f i c a n t l y influencing the amount of positive transfer. Since the degree of learning of L i s t I was not a s i g n i f i c a n t variable influencing positive transfer, the data were regrouped according to the three degrees of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . T-tests were made between them to determine the location of s i g n i f i c a n t differences. Table IV gives the means and standard deviations of the three levels of s i m i l a r i t y and thei r s t a t i s t i c a l treatment. The differences between the low and the zero degrees of s i m i l a r i t y , and between the medium and zero degrees of s i m i l a r i t y , were s i g n i f i c a n t at the 1$ l e v e l . The difference between the medium and the low degrees of s i m i l a r i t y was not s i g n i f i c a n t at the 5$ l e v e l . Figure 3 shows the number of syllables correct on the f i r s t r e c a l l t r i a l of L i s t II as a function of the degree of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . This graph indicates that positive transfer i s a function of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . A second measure of positive transfer, the number of t r i a l s to reach a c r i t e r i o n of one perfect r e c i t a t i o n of L i s t I I , was also used. The means and standard deviations for this measure are given i n Table I I I of Appendix B, and the analysis of variance i n Table V. The F value of 6.97, obtained fo r the degree of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y , was s i g n i f i c a n t at the 1$ l e v e l . The F value of 2.11, obtained for the degree of learning of L i s t I, was not s i g n i f i c a n t at the 5$ l e v e l . The F value of G.27, obtained for interaction between the degree of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y and learn-35 TABLE IV COMPARISON OF FIRST RECALL TRIAL OF LIST I I FOR THREE DEGREES OF SIMILARITY S t a t i s t i c Degree of S i m i l a r i t y Medium Low Zero Mean 8.20 7.70 3.35 S. D. 1.21 2.53 2.00 Differences Between Means Degrees Difference t Med.-Low 0.50 0.78 Med.-Zero 4.85 8.98* Low-Zero 4.35 5.88* * Differences s i g n i f i c a n t at the 01 l e v e l . 36 •p o © u H O o 03 CD H H CO o u CD Medium Low Zero Level of S i m i l a r i t y Figure 3. Number of syllables correct on f i r s t r e c a l l t r i a l of L i s t I I as a function of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . 37 ing of L i s t I, was not s i g n i f i c a n t at the 5$ l e v e l . These results agree with those obtained when the number of syllables correct on the f i r s t re-c a l l t r i a l of L i s t I I was used as a measure of transfer: the degree of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y was the only variable s i g n i f i c a n t l y i n f l u -encing positive transfer. The data were regrouped according to the three degrees of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y , since the degree of learning of L i s t I was not s i g -n i f i c a n t . T-tests were made between them to determine the location of si g n i f i c a n t differences. The means and standard deviations for t h i s measure, and t h e i r s t a t i s t i c a l treatment, are given i n Table VI. The differences between the low and the zero degrees of s i m i l a r i t y , and between the medium and the zero degrees of s i m i l a r i t y , were s i g n i f i c a n t at the 1% l e v e l . The difference between the low and the medium degrees of s i m i l a r i t y was not si g n i f i c a n t at the 5% l e v e l . These results agree with those obtained when the number of syllables correct on the f i r s t r e c a l l t r i a l of L i s t I I was used as a measure of transfer. Figure 4 shows the number of t r i a l s required to reach a c r i t e r i o n of one perfect r e c i t a t i o n of L i s t I I as a function of the degree of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . This graph shows a trend similar to Figure 3, indicating that positive transfer i s a function of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . 28 TABLE V ANALYSIS OF VARIANCE OF TRIALS TO REACH CRITERION OF ONE PERFECT RECITATION OF LIST I I WITH THREE DEGREES OF SIMILARITY AND TWO DEGREES OF LIST I LEARNING Source of Variation Similarity-Learning Interaction Error Total Sums of df Squares 2 185.03 1 28.01 2 7.04 54 716.10 59 936.18 Mean Square F 92.52 6.97* 28.01 2.11 3.52 0.27 13.26 * Si g n i f i c a n t at the .01 l e v e l . 29 TABLE YI COMPARISON OF TRIALS TO ONE PERFECT RECITATION OF LIST II FOR THREE DEGREES OF SIMILARITY S t a t i s t i c Degree of S i m i l a r i t y Differences Between Means Medium Low Zero Degrees Difference t Mean 4.80 4.30 8.25 Med.-Low 0.50 0.52 S. D. 2.64 3.16 4.53 Med.-Zero 3.45 2.87* Low-Zero 3.95 2.70* * Differences s i g n i f i c a n t at the .01 l e v e l . 30 Medium Low Zero Level of Similarity-Figure 4. Number of t r i a l s to one perfect r e c i t a t i o n of L i s t I I as a function of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . CHAPTER V DISCUSSION OF RESULTS The r e s u l t s support the i n i t i a l hypothesis, derived from Gibson's theory, that positive transfer is a function of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus simi-l a r i t y . Further analysis of the data indicates s i g n i f i c a n t l y l e s s posi-t i v e transfer to a l i s t of zero i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y than to one of medium or low i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . However, there i s no s i g n i f i c a n t difference between the amounts of positive transfer to a l i s t of medium i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y and to one of low i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . These res u l t s are i l l u s t r a t e d graphically i n Figures 3 and 4. At f i r s t glance, these two curves may be thought to indicate that the two transfer measures have given d i f f e r e n t r e s u l t s . When transfer i s measured by the number of sy l l a b l e s correct on the f i r s t r e c a l l t r i a l of the transfer task, there i s less transfer to a l i s t of low than to a l i s t of medium i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . When positive transfer i s measured by the number of t r i a l s required to reach a c r i t e r i o n of one perfect r e c i t a t i o n of the trans-fer task, there i s more transfer to a l i s t of low than to a l i s t of medium i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . Since the difference between positive transfer to a l i s t of medium and to a l i s t of low i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y was not s i g n i f i c a n t , t h i s conclusion i s not v a l i d . I f the relationship between positive transfer and i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y be l i n e a r , a certain degree of reduction i n i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y should result i n a proportional decrease i n the amount of posi-t i v e transfer. The average degrees of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y i n 32 the present study are 44.2% for medium s i m i l a r i t y , 11.0% for low s i m i l a r i t y , and 0% for zero s i m i l a r i t y . The difference i n i n t e r - l i s t stimulus simi-l a r i t y between the medium and low degrees of s i m i l a r i t y i s greater than that between the low and zero ones. The difference i n positive transfer between the low and zero degrees of s i m i l a r i t y i s s i g n i f i c a n t , whereas the d i f f e r -ence between the medium and low degrees i s not. This indicates that the re-lationship between positive transfer and i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y i s not l i n e a r , as Gibson's theory would indicate. The studies most closely related to the present one are those of Hamilton (6) and Bugelski and Cadwallader ( 2 ) , because Gibson's standardized stimulus forms were used i n both of these studies. They also found that positive transfer was a function of the degree of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . Hamilton and Bugelski and Cadwallader obtained s i g n i f i c a n t differences i n positive transfer only between the medium and the zero de-grees of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y , whereas i n the present study s i g n i -f i c a n t differences were obtained also between the low and zero s i m i l a r i t y degrees. This discrepancy might have resulted from their use of the two standard forms, which, i n the present study, were discarded because their variations yielded the same degrees of generalization, 0%, i n both the low and the zero s i m i l a r i t y categories. This would tend to minimize the d i f -ferences i n transfer between the low and the zero degrees of s i m i l a r i t y . Yum (11) concluded from his three studies that positive transfer was a function of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . Using hyphenated nonsense syll a b l e s as s t i m u l i , he found that the number of l e t t e r s changed did not s i g n i f i c a n t l y affect positive transfer, but the position of changed l e t t e r s did. Using meaningful words as s t i m u l i , jam obtained s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r -33 ences i n positive transfer between l i s t s of high and medium degrees of s i m i l a r i t y . Using v i s u a l patternsas s t i m u l i , he obtained decreasing posi-ti v e transfer with decreasing degrees of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . He did not report i f the decreases were s i g n i f i c a n t . McKinney (9) used geometric figures as s t i m u l i , and measured positive transfer when the stimuli were altered 10%, 20% and 30%. Positive transfer decreased as a function of the degree of a l t e r a t i o n , but a given degree of reduction of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y did not result i n a propor-t i o n a l decrease i n the amount of positive transfer. There i s one serious c r i t i c i s m which eculd be made of the forms stan-dardized by Gibson and used i n the present study. Gibson's percentages of generalization, shown i n Figure 2, lack uniformity within and between categories. The zero s i m i l a r i t y category i s the only one which does not overlap with other categories. In some cases, the percentage of generali-zation between the medium s i m i l a r i t y category and the o r i g i n a l presentation of the standard figures i s higher than the percentage of generalization between the standard figures and t h e i r o r i g i n a l presentation. This d i s -crepancy i s present also between some of the variations i n the low s i m i l -a r i t y category and the medium s i m i l a r i t y category. The inconsistencies r e s u l t from assigning each v a r i a t i o n to a category because of i t s r e l a t i o n to i t s standard form, without considering the range of generalization re-presented i n that category. A category of generalization, so that i t does not overlap with the next category, should contain forms of a certain range of generalization. Using such forms, i t should be possible to specify more exactly the relationship between positive transfer and i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . 3 4 The hypothesis that positive transfer w i l l decrease i f the practice of an i n i t i a l l i s t i s continued after members have been discriminated from each other was not supported by the data of the present study. There was no si g n i f i c a n t difference i n the amount of positive transfer when L i s t I was learned to one perfect r e c i t a t i o n (defined as discrimination) or to fi v e consecutive perfect r e c i t a t i o n s (defined as practice continued a f t e r discrimination was established). However, the design cannot be considered an adequate test of the hypothesis. A c r i t e r i o n of one perfect r e c i t a t i o n does not appear to have allowed discrimination to be established among the items, since twenty-two of the t h i r t y subjects who continued to the higher c r i t e r i o n reverted to incorrect responses after learning the l i s t to one perfect r e c i t a t i o n . I t i s possible that there was no s i g n i f i c a n t difference i n positive transfer because the two c r i t e r i a of learning might represent two comparable quali t a t i v e points, one on the ascending and the other on the descending portions of the same curve. Positive transfer w i l l continue to increase after one perfect r e c i t a t i o n of L i s t I because discrimination has not been established among the stimulus items. When five consecutive perfect r e c i -tations has been reached, surely practice has been carried past discrimina-t i o n , so that positive transfer would be decreasing. The results of other experiments, however, suggest a more probable explanation. Atwater (1), Handler (7), Mandler and Heinemann (8) and Duncan (3) have shown that positive transfer i s a function of the degree of learning of the i n i t i a l task. Moreover, t h e i r data show that positive transfer continues to increase when practice of the i n i t i a l task i s carried to very high degrees, when learning obviously has been continued far beyond 35 discrimination. These r e s u l t s have been obtained i n both motor learning and verbal learning situations. Hence, the non-significant differences obtained i n the present study probably result from using c r i t e r i o n meas-ures which are not s u f f i c i e n t l y different to y i e l d s i g n i f i c a n t differences i n positive transfer. The hypothesis that positive transfer decreases i f the i n i t i a l l i s t i s learned to a high degree i s derived from Gibson's postulate that once stimulus members have been discriminated from each other, they w i l l tend to generalize less with new stimulus items. The decrease i n generaliza-t i o n w i l l be proportional to the amount of d i f f e r e n t i a l reinforcement given. E x i s t i n g data indicate that t h i s postulate may be i n v a l i d , or, at le a s t , may require further q u a l i f i c a t i o n with respect to positive transfer. The hypothesis that there would be no interaction between i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y and the degree of learning of the i n i t i a l l i s t was supported by the data of the present study and that of Duncan ( 3 ) . The n u l l hypothesis was tested because i t was not possible to derive one from Gibson's theory. Consequently, the r e s u l t s are not a test of the adequacy of Gibson's theory. CHAPTER VI SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS The present study was designed to test positive transfer as a function of two variables: the degree of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y , and the degree of learning of an i n i t i a l l i s t . The following hypotheses, derived from E. J. Gibson's theory of verbal learning, were tested. 1. Positive transfer i s a function of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . A decrease of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y w i l l r e s u l t i n a decrease i n the amount of positive transfer. 2i Less positive transfer w i l l occur to a second l i s t i f practice of an i n i t i a l l i s t i s continued after discrimination has been established among the stimulus items. The effect of the interaction between i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y and the degree of i n i t i a l l i s t learning was' also assessed. Since the status of Gibson's theory did not enable the deduction of an experimental hypothesis, a n u l l hypothesis was tested. Sixty subjects learned an i n i t i a l l i s t of eleven stimulus forms, each paired with a nonsense syllab l e response of zero associative value. The subjects were required to learn each sy l l a b l e so that they could s p e l l i t when the appropriate form was presented. The subjects were tested i n d i v i -dually. Learning was by the method of right associates. A memory drum apparatus was used to present materials at the rate of two seconds per item, with a six second i n t e r v a l between t r i a l s . Thirty of the subjects learned t h i s l i s t to a c r i t e r i o n of one perfect r e c i t a t i o n , and the other t h i r t y learned the l i s t to a c r i t e r i o n of f i v e consecutive perfect r a c i -37 tations. When the c r i t e r i o n had been reached, the subjects were given a ten minute i n t e r v a l i n which to rate a series of t h i r t y jokes. The subjects were then assigned to three groups. Each group consisted of ten subjects who had learned the i n i t i a l l i s t to a c r i t e r i o n of one perfect r e c i t a t i o n , and ten subjects who had learned i t to fi v e consecutive perfect r e c i t a -tions. As a transfer task, each group received a different l i s t of paired associates, whose stimulus members were of either medium, low or zero s i m i l a r i t y to those of the i n i t i a l l i s t . Each group learned t h i s task to a c r i t e r i o n of one perfect r e c i t a t i o n . The main findings and conclusions of the study were as follows: 1. Positive transfer i s a function of the degree of i n t e r - l i s t stimu-lus s i m i l a r i t y . S i g n i f i c a n t l y less transfer occurs to a l i s t of zero s i m i l a r i t y than to a l i s t of medium s i m i l a r i t y or to one of low s i m i l a r i t y . There is no s i g n i f i c a n t difference between the amount of transfer to a l i s t of medium s i m i l a r i t y and the amount of transfer to one of low s i m i l a r i t y . A reduction i n i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y does not res u l t i n a propor-t i o n a l decrease i n the amount of positive transfer. 2. Increasing the degree of i n i t i a l l i s t learning from one perfect r e c i t a t i o n to f i v e consecutive perfect r e c i t a t i o n s does not s i g n i f i c a n t l y decrease the amount of positive transfer. 3. There i s no interaction between i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y and the degree of i n i t i a l l i s t learning. Other investigators have also obtained r e s u l t s indicating that positive transfer i s a function of the degree of i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y . The results of the present study and that of HcKinney suggest that the re-lationship i s i n d i r e c t , whereas Gibson's theory indicates that the r e l a t i o n -38 ship i s l i n e a r . The present study of the degree of i n i t i a l l i s t learning was considered to be an inadequate test of Gibson's hypothesis, because the c r i t e r i o n of one perfect r e c i t a t i o n did not allow discrimination to be established among the items. Contrary to Gibson's hypothesis, the r e s u l t s of other studies indicate increasing positive transfer with high degrees of i n i t i a l task learning. Interaction between i n t e r - l i s t stimulus s i m i l a r i t y and the degree of i n i t i a l task learning has also been found by another i n -vestigator to be a non-significant factor i n positive transfer. 39 REFERENCES 1. ATWATER, S. K. Proactive i n h i b i t i o n and associative f a c i l i t a t i o n as affected by degree of prior learning. J. exp. Psychol., 1953, 46, 400-404. 2. BUG-ELSEE, B. R . and CADWALLADBR, T . C. A reappraisal of the transfer and retroaction surface. J . exp. Psychol., 1956, 52, 360-366. 3. DUNCAN, C. P. Transfer i n motor learning as a function of degree of f i r s t - t a s k learning and inter-task s i m i l a r i t y . J. exp. Psychol., 1953, 45, 1-11. 4. GIBSON, E. J. A systematic application of the concepts of generaliza-t i o n and d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n to verbal learning. Psychol. Rev., 1940, 47, 197-229. 5. GIBSON, E. J. Retroactive i n h i b i t i o n as a function of the degree of generalization between tasks. J . exp. Psychol., 1941, 28, 93-115. 6. HAMILTON, R. J . Retroactive f a c i l i t a t i o n as a function of the degree of generalization between tasks. J. exp. Psychol., 1943, 32, 363-376. 7. MANDLER, G. Transfer of tr a i n i n g as a function of degree of response overlearning. J. exp. Psychol., 1954, 47, 411-417. 8. MANDLER, G. and BEINEMANN, S. H. Effect of overlearning of a verbal response on transfer of tra i n i n g . J. exp. Psychol., 1956, 52, 39-46. 9. McKINNEY, F. J. Qualitative and quantitative essential elements of transfer. J. exp. Psychol., 1933, 16, 854-864. 10. STEVENS, S. S. (Ed.) Handbook of Experimental Psychology. London, John Wiley & Sons, 1951. 11. YUM, K. S. An experimental test of the law of assimilation. J. exp. Psychol., 1931, 14, 68-82. 40 APPENDIX A THE SET 0E JOKES AND RATING SCALE 41 JOKE SCHEDULE Remember there are no rig h t or wrong ratings. Before making your ratings, be sure to follow the directions c a r e f u l l y . Rate each one on the answer sheet. Do NOT make any marks on the Joke Schedule. 1. Friend: "Isn't there anything you would l i k e to say, Sam, before they p u l l the rope?" Sam (with head i n noose): "Jes' t e l l the judge maybe he done a good thing after a l l . This i s gonna be a mighty good lesson to me." 2. A young s t a r l e t asked a studio s t i l l photographer for one of her pictures. Photographer: "Would you l i k e i t mounted?" S t a r l e t : "Oh, that would be wonderful. I look so much better on a horse." 3. A young lady with a baby i n her arms slipped up to the perfume counter and c a r e f u l l y surveyed the display which included "My Sin", "Tabu" and "Surrender." Quietly she asked the s a l e s g i r l , "Would you care to have a testimonial?" 4. Lady: "Colonel, do you remember the time you proposed to me and I refused you?" Colonel: "Madam, i t i s the one moment of my l i f e that I remember with greatost pleasure." 5. Friend: "Did you make the debating team?" B i l l : "N-n-n-no. They s-s-said I wasn't t - t - t a l l enough." 6. A doctor leaving the sick-bed of a wife, whose husband accompanied him, exclaimed doubtfully: " I do not l i k e her looks." Husband: " I have not l i k e d her looks for a long time." 7. After a v i s i t to an old fri e n d i n the ho s p i t a l , Irving took the patient's very l o v e l y nurse aside and asked: "Give me the r e a l lowdown nurse. Is he making progress?" Replied the nurse: "None at a l l . He's not my type." 8. Landlady (to student looking for room): "A professor of chemistry formerly occupied t h i s room s i r . He invented an explosive." Student: " I suppose those spots on the c e i l i n g are the explosive?" Landlady: "No, they're the professor." 42 9. A gentleman had shown much ingenuity in evading a notorious borrower whom he had sent away many times with the request to call when he was "in." One day, however, the borrower eluded the servant at the door and cornered his victim. "Ah," said the host, seeing that there was no way out of i t , "at last I am in." "No," returned the borrower in anticipation, "at last I am in and you are out." 10. A blackbird asked the stork how he enjoyed his vacation. The long-legged one answered: "I had a fine time. I rested, except for scaring hell out of a couple of chorus girls." 11. A friend noticed remnants of food on the beard of another. "I can t e l l you what you ate yesterday," he remarked. "Wall, let's hear i t , " said the other. "Beans," said the first one. "You are wrong," responded the other, and added "I had beans the day before yesterday," 12. A child at the beach pleaded, "Please, Mommy, may I go in the water?" Mother: "Oh, no, honey, - it's too deep." Child: "But Daddy is out there in the water." Mother: "Yes, but he's big and strong - and he's insured," 13* Quiz master to contestant: "What animal is second i n intelligence to man?" Contestant: "Woman." 14. A man ambled into a tennis tournament and sat down on a bench. He asked: "Whose game?" A shy young thing sitting next to him looked up hopefully. She replied: "I am." 15. A horse-dealer, in recommending a saddle horse to his client, said: "If you mount this horse at four o'clock in the morning, you will be in Seattle at seven-thirty in the morning." Asked the client: "What will I do in Seattle at seven-thirty in the morning?" 16. A l i t t l e boy was crying on the curb and an old man passing by asked the l i t t l e fellow why he was crying. The l i t t l e one said: "I can't do what the big boys do." So the old man sat down on the curb and cried too. 17. Actress to room clerk: "Can you give me a room and bath?" Clerk: "I can give you a room, but you'll have to take your own bath." 1 43 IS. A g i r l asked another one what you could do to make her apartment p r e t t i e r . The frank advice was: "Stay out of i t . " 19» Woman speaking to her psychiatriat: " I wish you'd see my husband. He blows smoke rings through his nose - i t frightens me." Psy c h i a t r i s t : " I don't know that i t ' s so t e r r i b l y unusual for someone to blow smoke rings through his nose." Woman: "But my husband doean't smoke." 20. An e l d e r l y man patted his f r i e n d on the back one day at a bar and said: "You're a good egg, l e t ' s have a drink*" You see; my doctor i s permitting me to drink sherry with an egg." 21. A baker said to a tavern keeper, one of whose fingers was festering: " I guess your finger got into your beer." Tavern keeper: "You are wrong. One of your r o l l s got under my finger n a i l . " 22. On being introduced to his blind-date, Robert was rather unpleasantly surprised, and drawing aside his f r i e n d , he reproachfully whispered to him: "Why have you f i x e d me up with t h i s ? She i s ugly and o l d . She squints, has bad teeth and bleary eyes." The so-called friend: "You can t a l k louder. She i s deaf, too." 23. Co-Bd: "I'd l i k e to see the captain of t h i s ship." S a i l o r : "He's forward, Miss." Co-Ed: "That's a l l r i g h t . This i s a pleasure t r i p , " 24. A well-known u n i v e r s i t y teacher who was wont t o spice r i c h l y with jokes his rather dry specialty, was once congratulated upon the b i r t h of his youngest son, who was bestowed upon him at a rather advanced ago. Said he to his w e l l wishers: "Yes, i t i s remarkable what mortal hands can accomplish." 25* The chairman rapped for order while the restless crowd suffered a long-winded a f t e r dinner speaker. A man who sat very near the chairman was h i t on the head by the gavel. He muttered: "Hit me again. I can s t i l l hear him." 44 26. A wealthy but elderly gentleman was showing his devotion to a young actress by giving her many lavish gifts. Being a respectable girl, she took the first opportunity to discourage his attentions by telling him that her heart was already given to another man. His polite answer was: "I never, aspired as high as that." 2 7 . In his distress, a needy man borrowed 2 5 dollars from a wealthy acquaintance. The same day, he was discovered by his creditor in a restaurant eating a dish of salmon with mayonnaise. The creditor reproached him in these words: "You borrow money from me and then order salmon with mayonnaise. Is that what you needed the money for?" Responded the debtor: "I don't understand you. When I havo no money, I can't -3at salmon with mayonnaise. When I have money, I mustn't eat i t . oil then, when shall I ever eat salmon with mayonnaise?" 28. The legend is told that in the days of ancient Rome an officer called to the wars locked his beautiful young wife in armor and gave the key to his best friend, using the admonition: "If I don't return in six months, use this key. To you my dear friend, I entrust i t . " He then galloped off to the wars. Ten miles away from his home, he saw a cloud of dust approaching and waited. His friend, on horseback, galloped saying, "You gave me the wrong key." 29. Friend: "Frank, I hate to tell you but last night at the party, your sister promised to become my wife. Can you forgive me for taking her away?" Frank: "Shucks, that's what the party was for." 30. A man who was addicted to drink supported himself in a small city by private teaching. His vice gradually became known and he lost most of his pupils in consequence. A friend of his took it upon himself to admonish him to reform. "Look here," said the friend, "you could have the best pupils in town i f you would give up drinking. Why not do it?" The indignant reply was: "What are you talking about? I am teaching in order to be able to drink. Shall I give up drinking in order to get pupils?" 45 PSYCHOLOGICAL SCALING OF JOKES The purpose of t h i s research i s to study a new technique for the psychological scaling of jokes as t o the degree of humour expressed i n them. You are given 30 jokes which represent widely d i f f e r e n t v a r i e t i e s . You may think some are funny, or you may thank some are disagreeable, and perhaps, you may f e e l that some are neither funny or disagreeable. Whether you think a joke i s funny or disagreeable, others are sure to agree with you. There are no ri g h t or wrong ratings for the jokes. You are to read each joke and evaluate how funny or disagreeable i t i s to you. Please rate each joke on the following scale: Very Funny: I f you think i t i s very funny, put three crosses a f t e r + + + i t s number on the answer sheet - l i k e t h i s + + + Funny: I f you think i t i s funny on the whole, put two crosses + + a f t e r i t s number on the answer sheet - l i k e t h i s ++ S l i g h t l y Funny: I f you think i t i s s l i g h t l y funny, put one cross + af t e r i t s number on the answer sheet - l i k e t h i s + Neutral: I f you think i t i s not at a l l funny, i . e . , neither o amusing or disagreeable, put a zero a f t e r i t s number on the answer sheet - l i k e t h i s o S l i g h t l y I f you think i t i s s l i g h t l y disagreeable, put a minus ' Disagreeable: sign a f t e r i t s number on the answer sheet - l i k e t h i s -Disagreeable: I f you think i t i s disagreeable on the whole, put two — minus signs a f t e r i t s number on the answer sheet -l i k e t h i s — Very Disagreeable: I f you think i t i s very disagreeable, put three minus signs after i t s number on the answer sheet - l i k e t h i s Be sure not to omit any joke. WORK FAST. Do not stop to meditate, give your f i r s t reaction each time. 46 PSYCHOLOGICAL SCALING OF JOKES For your convenience, remember to use the following code: +++ Very Funny - S l i g h t l y Disagreeable /+ Funny ' Disagreeable + S l i g h t l y Funny Very Disagreeable o Neutral 1 16 Personal Details 2 17 I t would be appreciated i f you . could f i l l i n the following d e t a i l s , 3 18. 4 19. 5g 20. 6 21_ 7 22, 8 23_ 9 24_ 10 25_ 11 26. 12 27. 13 28. 14 _ 29. 15 30. 31 Age. 32 Sex. 33 Year i n University. 47 APPENDIX B MEANS AND STANDARD DEVIATIONS OF CRITERION MEASURES FOR LIST I AND LIST I I 48 TABLE I MEANS AND STANDARD DEVIATIONS ON LEARNING OF LIST I TO A CRITERION OF ONE PERFECT RECITATION CONDITIONS A B O D E F Mean Scores SI.70 31.40 25.70 22.80 26.90 25.90 Standard Deviations 9.01 9.82 13.11 5.76 7.44 8.74 49 TABLE I I MEANS AND STANDARD DEVIATIONS OF NUMBER OF SYLLABLES CORRECT ON FIRST RECALL TRIAL OF LIST I I WITH THREE LEVELS OF SIMILARITY AND TOO DEGREES OF LIST I LEARNING CONDITIONS A B O D E Mean Scores 8.10 7.00 3.70 8.30 8.40 3.00 Standard Deviations 0.95 3.15 2.00 1.42 2.69 1.95 50 TABLE I I I MEANS AND STANDARD DEVIATIONS OF TRIALS TO REACH CRITERION OF ONE PERFECT RECITATION OF LIST I I WITH THREE LEVELS OF SIMILARITY AND TWO DEGREES OF LIST I LEARNING CONDITIONS A B C D E Tf Mean Scores 5.20 5.50 8.70 4.40 3.10 7.80 Standard Deviations 3.03 3.10 5.65 2.U 2.77 2.92 

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