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ERIC Number: EJ910126
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 51
ISSN: ISSN-1076-898X
Learning and Retention through Predictive Inference and Classification
Sakamoto, Yasuaki; Love, Bradley C.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, v16 n4 p361-377 Dec 2010
Work in category learning addresses how humans acquire knowledge and, thus, should inform classroom practices. In two experiments, we apply and evaluate intuitions garnered from laboratory-based research in category learning to learning tasks situated in an educational context. In Experiment 1, learning through predictive inference and classification were compared for fifth-grade students using class-related materials. Making inferences about properties of category members and receiving feedback led to the acquisition of both queried (i.e., tested) properties and nonqueried properties that were correlated with a queried property (e.g., even if not queried, students learned about a species' habitat because it correlated with a queried property, like the species' size). In contrast, classifying items according to their species and receiving feedback led to knowledge of only the property most diagnostic of category membership. After multiple-day delay, the fifth-graders who learned through inference selectively retained information about the queried properties, and the fifth-graders who learned through classification retained information about the diagnostic property, indicating a role for explicit evaluation in establishing memories. Overall, inference learning resulted in fewer errors, better retention, and more liking of the categories than did classification learning. Experiment 2 revealed that querying a property only a few times was enough to manifest the full benefits of inference learning in undergraduate students. These results suggest that classroom teaching should emphasize reasoning from the category to multiple properties rather than from a set of properties to the category. (Contains 3 tables and 5 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 5; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas