ERIC Number: ED246666
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Distinctiveness of Encoding and Word Learning: Forms of "Distinctiveness" and Retention of Vocabulary Words.
Shaughnessy, Michael F.; Cockrell, Kelly
Two experiments examining the "distinctiveness of encoding" hypothesis are reported. The hypothesis suggests that specific forms of processing of events may result in the formation of more exact perceptual descriptions and thus more distinctive records in memory. The two experiments reported address shortcomings in previous research on distinctiveness by comparing various forms of distinctiveness and their effectiveness in long-term recall. In one experiment, subjects were given one of four forms of data on 20 specific words: (1) the word, its definition, a word link for memorability, and the word link used in a sentence; (2) the word, definition, and the request to use the word in a sentence; (3) the word and definition; and (4) the words to be learned and their definitions, scrambled. The fourth condition was the distinctive one. After 20 minutes, a multiple-choice test was given. The first three groups performed significantly better than the fourth group. In the second experiment, the same subjects were asked to retake the earlier multiple-choice test without the earlier preparation. The same results were obtained. It is concluded that a distinctive, unfamiliar form of processing words may require additional learning time or may result in limited recall. Further research is recommended to examine the role of greater processing time, prior knowledge, and individual processing rapidity. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association (Las Vegas, NV, April 1984).