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findings of Marks and Miller (1964). It is con-

cluded that retention of word strings is a negative
function of their degree of linguistic violation.
The results also indicate that recognition is not on
the basis of certain key words, since there would
then have been no differences among the strings.
HR Whether the obtained retention differences are to
be attributed to differential initial acquisition, or
to differential forgetting rates, or to both cannot
be determined from the present data. Since Miller
and Isard (1963) obtained the same order of re-
sults with an intelligibility test of such materials,
where S was to repeat each string aloud as soon as
it was given, it might be argued that the above
retention effects were a reflection of different ac-
quisition levels. However, since the intelligibility
test is a "production" measure similar to a recall
test, it would also permit a reconstruction bias to
operate, so that such a conclusion must remain
FIG. 1. Memory operating characteristics for grammatical (G),
anomalous (A), and ungrammatical (U) word strings. tentative.
These curves are shown in Fig. 1. It can be seen EGAN, J. P., & CLARKE, F. R. Psychophysics and signal
that the curves are well separated from one an- detection. In J. B. Sidowski (Ed.), Experimental methods
other, and that recognition accuracy increased in and instrumentation in psychology. New York: McGraw-
Hill, 1966.
the following order: U, A, and G. A numerical EGAN, J. P., SCHULMAN, A. I., & GREENBERG, G. Z. Oper-
index of degree of sensitivity, called ds, was calcu- ating characteristics determined by binary decisions and by
ratings. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 1959,
lated according to the description by Egan and 31, 768-773.
Clarke (1966). This is a measure of recognition MARKS, L. E., & MILLER, G. A. The role of semantic and
syntactic constraints in the memorization of English sen-
accuracy which is relatively stable in the presence tences. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior,
of criterion differences. The obtained degree of 1964, 3, 1-5.
MILLER, G. A., & ISASD, S. Some perceptual consequences of
sensitivity values for the G, A, and U conditions, linguistic rules. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal
respectively, were 2.18, 1.00, and .52. Behavior, 1963, 2, 217-228.
These data are in agreement with the recall (Received March 23, 1968)

Journal of Experimental Psychology

1969, Vol. 79, No. 2, 378-380




State University of New York at Albany

The present experiment supplemented an earlier study in which it was snown

that trigrams of short-latency associative reaction time (RT) were learned
faster than trigrams of long-latency RT, but that the effect of RT was
limited to low-meaningfulness trigrams. The present study replicated the
earlier study with the exception of a substitution of long-latency, high-mean-
ingfulness non-English language trigrams for the long-latency nigh-meaning-
fulness English language words of the list used in the previous study. The
new list of the present study resulted in a faster learning rate for short-latency
trigrams of both low and high meaningfulness.

In an earlier study, Ley (1968) measured the association produced) of a sample of low- and high-
associative reaction time (the time elapsing between meaningfulness CVC trigrams. Using mean asso-
the presentation of a verbal unit and the first ciative reaction time (RT) as the primary criterion,
four trigrams were selected from the high-meaning-
iThis research was supported in part by a State University
of 2 New York Research Foundation Faculty Fellowship. fulness group (HM)two from the short-latency
Requests for reprints should be sent to Ronald Ley, De- (SL) end of the RT distribution (gen and hel)
paitriment of Psychology, State University of New York at
[bany, Albany, New York 12203.
Alb; and two from the long-latency (LL) end of the RT

distribution (rug and ton). The same procedure

was employed in obtaining two short-latency RT
trigrams (liw and yae) and two long-latency RT
trigrams (guh and koj) from the low-meaningful-
ness (LM) sample. The results of this study sup-
ported the hypothesis that paired-associate (PA)
learning rate is a function of the RT of response
terms, i.e., trigrams of short-latency RT were
learned faster than trigrams of long-latency RT.
However, the effect of RT was limited to low-
meaningfulness trigrams. Since the long-latency
high-meaningfulness trigrams were rug and ton,
the only English language words in the list, it was
suggested that the uniqueness of words presented
within a group of nonsense syllables might facilitate y y 2 4 NX 8
the learning of the words. It was the purpose of
the present study to control for this factor by
limiting the response terms of the PA list to non- FIG. 1 Mean number of trials to first correct anticipation
English language CVC trigrams. The present for SL-HM, SL-LM, LL-HM, and LL-LM trigrams as a
study is, therefore, a replication of the earlier one function of three presentation times.
(Ley, 1968) except that response terms were
limited to non-English language CVC trigrams. In keeping with the earlier study, the design of
In keeping with the earlier study, it was predicted the present study was a mixed factorial in which
that in a PA learning task, in which response terms presentation rate (2 sec., 4 sec., and 8 sec.) was a
are equated on meaningfulness, trigrams of short- between-Ss variable and RT (short latency and
latency RT will be learned faster than trigrams long latency) and meaningfulness (low and high),
of long-latency RT, and that the difference between within-.S's variables.
the learning rates will be greater, the shorter the Results and discussion.A plot of the mean
presentation rate. number of trials to the first correct anticipation for
Method.The 6"s were 60 undergraduate volun- the four groups of trigrams (SL-HM, SL-LM,
teers from the State University of New York at LL-HM, and LL-LM) as a function of presenta-
Albany (30 females and 30 males), naive with re- tion time is given in Fig. 1. Consistent with the
spect to previous experience in verbal learning ex- data of the previous study (Ley, 1968), the short-
periments. latency RT trigrams were learned in fewer trials
The materials used in the present study differed than the long-latency RT trigrams, F (1, 57) =
from those used by Ley (1968) in the following 12.68, p < .001; the high-meaningfulness trigrams
ways: The two English language trigrams (rug were learned in fewer trials than the low-meaning-
and ton) of the first list were replaced with two fulness trigrams, F (1, 57) =45.97, /><.001; and
non-English language trigrams (lie and mol, mean the mean number of trials to the first correct antici-
RT = 2.S6 sec., mean m' = 3.21). The stimulus pation varied inversely with presentation rate, F (2,
terms used in the present study were eight two- 57) = 37.62, p < .001.
digit numbers selected on the basis of approximately Contrary to the findings of the earlier study,
equal association value (Battig & Spera, 1962) the RT X Meaningfulness interaction was not sig-
with the restriction that each number consist of nificant, F (1, 57) = 1.67, p > .05, thus supporting
two different digits and that no two numbers begin the primary hypothesis of the present study: that
or end with the same digit. Also, numbers con- RT has an effect on the learning rate of both low-
and high-meaningfulness trigrams when English
taining the digit "1" were excluded. To control language trigrams are excluded from the list.
for the possible confounding of stimulus effects on Consistent with the data of the earlier study, the
the learning rate of response terms, four lists were Meaningfulness X Presentation Rate interaction
constructed, each list containing the same stimulus was significant, F (1, 57) =6.85, p < .005, as was
terms and same response terms, but in different the RT X Presentation Rate interaction F (1, 57)
combinations. Terms were paired such that the = 3.12, /><.10. These findings indicate that the
means of the rated association values of the stim- effect of meaningfulness and RT on learning rate
ulus terms for each set of response terms (SL- is greater for short presentation rates (e.g., 2 sec)
HM, SL-LM, LL-HM, and LL-LM) were ap- and lesser for longer presentation rates (e.g., 4
proximately equal. sec. and 8 sec.). The absence of a significant RT
The procedure followed in the present study was X Meaningfulness X Presentation Rate interaction
the same as that followed by Ley (1968) except in the present study is a result of the absence of
that the termination of a learning session for a a significant RT X Meaningfulness interaction
given 5" occurred at the end of one errorless trial which in the earlier study was more pronounced
or at the end of SO trials, rather than 40 trials, at the 2-sec. presentation rate than either the 4-sec.
if an errorless trial had not occurred. or 8-sec. rate.

Additional agreement with the earlier study was REFERENCES

found in the analysis of the total learning time, in BATTIO, W. F., & SPERA, A. J. Rated associated values of
numbers from 0-100. Journal of Verbal Learning and Ver-
which the differences between the total time re- bal Behavior, 1962, 1, 200-202.
quired for learning under the three presentation LEY, R. Associative reaction time, meaningfulness, and pre-
sentation rate in paired-associate learning. Journal of Ex-
rates (2 sec., 4 sec., and 8 sec.) were not sig- perimental Psychology, 1968, 78, 285-291.
nificant, P (2, 57) = 1.46, p > .05. (Received March 25, 1968)

Journal of Experimental Psychology

1969, Vol. 79, No. 2, 380-382


University of California, Los Angeles

Category clustering was investigated in a Type 2 incidental learning design.

Incidental clustering was noted, but no consistent similarities between inten-
tional and incidental learning as a function of list presentations and list
arrangement were found. Number of identified categories was related to
amount of recall and clustering, and most 5s reported that they noticed cate-
gories initially in the training stage. Those rejected as pseudoincidental 5s
showed greater incidental and less intentional learning than the true inci-
dental 5s.

Postman, Adams, and Bohm (1956) and Mayz- discarded as pseudo-INC 5s, based on a post-
ner and Tresselt (1962) found associative cluster- experimental self-rating scale on having made ef-
ing in incidental (INC) learning. Although such forts to learn the INC material.
clustering may be explained by nonmediational A 5 X 2 X 2 factorial design was used: 1, 2, 3,
S-R links, it suggests that INC learning may not 4, or 5 presentations of a list before the recall test,
be a low-level, simple, and peripheral process, and blocked or random arrangement of list items, and
that implicit associative activity (mediation) trig- either INT or INC word pronounced first. Words
gered by test items is possible in the INC condi- from the same category were presented contigu-
tion. ously in the blocked set, while no two successive
Here, INC category clustering was examined items from the same category were given in the
since it hints more strongly at INC mediation than random set. The INT and INC words were
associative clustering. Instead of discrete S-R shown simultaneously and 5 was instructed to
pairs, several words are grouped because they im- pronounce aloud either the INT or INC stimulus
plicitly evoke a common category name. For ex- first.
ample, pea-carrot-potato are clustered because they Each 5 was assigned to 1 of 20 independent cells
evoke "vegetable." according to a random order derived by drawing
A Type 2 INC design was used where 5s simul- slips from a bag. Six blocks of 20 5s were run
taneously underwent INC and intentional (INT) so that all of the 20 conditions appeared once in
learning so that the similarities between the two each block. If an 5 was discarded as pseudo-INC
types of learning were checked. The relationship the next S, and succeeding ones if necessary, were
between degree of category identification and run in the same cell until a true INC 5 was ob-
amount of clustering, and the differences between tained.
pseudo-INC and true INC ,9s also were investi- Two 24-word lists, A and B, were formed from
gated. the Connecticut cultural norms for verbal items in
Method.One hundred and ninety-three 5s from 43 categories (Cohen, Bousfield, & Whitmarsh,
introductory psychology courses were run individ- 1957). Each list had 3 categories of 8 words each,
ually. Of these, 120 were retained in the experi- all items being high-associative responses to their
mental design as true INC learners and 73 were respective category names.
Words were shown in pairs, one word atop the
This paper was based on a dissertation submitted to the other, with List A items always on top and List B
Department of Psychology, University of California, Los words on the bottom. To discourage top-bottom
Angeles, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
PhD degree. The author is particularly indebted to Charles combination learning, different pairings occurred on
Nakamura for his kind concern as chairman and to Irving successive trials. When a blocked or random ar-
Maltzman, John Houston, and Lowell Storms for their help
as members of the doctoral committee. rangement was used, it was done for both top and
'Requests for reprints should be sent to Fred Shima who is bottom words, i.e., both INT and INC stimuli had
now at Southwest Regional Laboratory, 11300 La Cienega
Blvd., Inglewood, California 90304. the same type of arrangement for a given S.