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Mnemonic effects in children’s associative learning : a theoretical and experimental analysis Catchpole, Michael John

Abstract

An attempt was made to shed new light upon the controversy between semantic overlap (e.g., Rohwer, 1973) and interacting imagery (e.g., Paivio, 1970) interpretations of mnemonic effects in children's associative learning. Two approaches were taken to this task. First, several conflicting predictions of the semantic and imagery models were pinpointed and subjected to experimental analysis. Second, in an attempt to supercede the semantic versus imagery issue, the Piagetian (e.g., Piaget and Inhelder, 1973) conception of memory was considered and some predictions, derived from an extrapolation of this model to associative learning were examined experimentally. In terms of the former approach, the results of the four experiments generally were more consistent with the imagery perspective. However, since only peripheral features of the-semantic model were contradicted, no clear choice between the two positions was warranted. Inclusion of several measures of delayed recall in order to pursue the second, Piagetian-based, approach did point out the inadequacy of the semantic and imagery models with regard to longer retention intervals. From the Piagetian perspective the various memory-improving effects, rather than being attributable to operative (i.e., assirailatory) processes, instead, seemed more appropriately assigned to a figurative-level mnemonic.

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