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Interrelations in Children's Learning of Verbal and Pictorial Paired Associates NICHD

Hale, Gordon A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Age Differences, Associative Learning, Elementary School Students, Junior High School Students, Paired Associate Learning, Pictorial Stimuli, Verbal Stimuli


This study was designed to investigate the functional similarity of the mental processes children use to learn verbal tasks and pictorial tasks. Children in grades 3 and 6 (n=144) and in grade 9 (n=112) were given four short paired tasks entitled Pictures. Concrete Words, Abstract Words, and Japanese Characters. The tasks consisted of six stimulus-response pairs presented over two trials. Planned comparisons in mean level of performance involved the first three tasks. Performance on Pictures was found to be superior to Concrete Words, and Concrete Words was superior t Abstract Words. With the former effect reaching significance for grades 3 and 9 and the latter for grades 3 and 6. An analysis of all four tasks found that correlation between Pictures and Concrete Words increased across grade levels to a greater degree than correlation between any other pair of tasks. This last result paralleled data from an auxiliary experiment and suggests a developmental increase in children's use of verbal processes along with imagery to learn pictorial materials. (Author/NH)

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