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Transfer in serial learning as a function of interlist positional relations Whitmore, Sally Jean

Abstract

Transfer in serial learning as a function of inter-list positional relations was examined in a serial to serial transfer paradigm. After learning a 16-adjective serial list to a criterion of two consecutive perfect recitations, 128 Ss, were given ten trials on a l6-adjective transfer task. There were four conditions of transfer defined by the positional relationship of Items between successive lists. First-, second-, and fourth-order derived list conditions and a control condition were used. Half of the experimental Ss were instructed as to the positional relationship between the lists while the remaining Ss were given no positional Information. The results indicated significant positive transfer in the DL₁ and DL₄ groups when compared to the control group. DL₂ performance was slightly superior to performance of the control group but this difference did not approach significance. Performance of instructed Ss was found to be significantly better than performance of non-instructed Ss. The instructions variable was not found to have a differential effect among conditions. The results were interpreted as being Incompatible with either the sequential or the ordinal-position hypothesis of serial learning, but as evidence in support of a relative ordinal-position hypothesis.

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