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Effect of Labels on Memory in the Absence of Rehearsal

Legant, Patricia; Ward, William C.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Memory, Pictorial Stimuli, Preschool Children, Recall (Psychology)


This study tests the hypothesis that labeling facilitates recall in nursery school children if and only if it leads to rehearsal. Subjects were 34 children ranging in age from 47 to 53 months. During pretraining, those children in the Label group named pictures of animals and fruits as they were presented. While those in the No Label group matched each picture to the same card in a second set of pictures. Eight test trials followed. During each one the child was shown two pictures, one at a time, with exposure ended as soon as he or she named them (or in the No Label group, after a comparably brief exposure.) For all subjects there was a 20 second delay between presentation and recall, during which the tester conversed with the child to prevent rehearsal. Subjects who labeled showed recall superior to that of subjects who did not, indicating that the facilitating effect of labels in short-term memory is not solely attributable either to an increased tendency to rehearse or to the strengthening of a primary memory source. (Author/NH)

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