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Experiment Author: Bower, G.H. Adapted from STEP and used with permission of Brian MacWhinney
The ability of subjects to improve their performance in a task of estimation depends on the feedback, or knowledge of results (KR) that they receive. In the original study, subjects were asked to draw a line, and given KR concerning the direction and degree of error. The effects of KR were studied. In this version, subjects are asked to press a key to indicate a time interval. In some cases they are given KR (the number of milliseconds away from the correct amount of time), but in other cases they are given no feedback at all. The subjects improve accuracy when they are provided with KR.
The experiment uses a list of 40 words which are presented in pairs. The first set of instructions asks participants to memorize words by repeating them. After 20 word pairs, participants are shown the first word again and will be asked to recall the second word. A keyboard is used to respond. The exercise is repeated a second time, but participants are asked to form a visual of the two words instead of merely repeating them.
Bower, G.H. (1972). Mental imagery and associative learning. In L. Gregg (Ed.), Cognition in learning and memory, 51-88.
Experiment Abstract or Original Experiment Abstract
These experiments investigate the effects of hierarchic organization of word-lists upon their free recall. Ss recalled nested category lists presented either randomly or in a hierarchically organized manner. Recall was 2-3 times better with the organized presentation. Later experiments showed this effect (a) was similar with associative as well as conceptual hierarchies, (b) was attenuated with recognition tests of memory, and (c) could no be accounted for by associative "guessing." Another experiment demonstrated retroactive facilitation in recall of List 1 when List 2 contained the hierarchic superordinates of the words on List 1. Analyses suggest that the hierarchic principle was used as a retrieval plan for curing recall, with generated candidates monitored for their list membership before being overtly recalled.
Works Cited by the Experiment
Bilodeau, E.A., & Bilodeau, I. McD. Variable frequency of knowledge of results and the learning of a simple skill. J. exp. Psychol., 1958, 55, 379-383.
Bilodeau, E.A., & Ferguson, T.G. A device for presenting knowledge of results as a variable function of the magnitude of the response. Amer. J. Psychol., 1953, 66, 483-487.
Dees, V., & Grindley, G.C. The effect of knowledge of results on learning and performance: IV. The direction of the error in very simple skills. Quart. J. exp. Psychol., 1951, 3, 36-42.
Hull, C.L. Principles of behavior. New York: Appleton-Century, 1943.