In individually administered treatment sessions, tenth-grade students first learned the number (chronological order) of several randomly selected U.S. presidents by employing either mnemonic (memory-enhancing) illustrations or their own preferred method of study. Subsequently, mnemonic-illustration, mnemonicimagery, or no-strategy control materials were provided for the task of additionally learning some biographical information about each of the same presidents. All types of second-phase mnemonic instruction greatly facilitated students' recall of the biographical information, and neither positive nor negative transfer effects associated with the initial number-learning task were detected. Considered in the discussion is the educational utility of mnemonic techniques for enabling students to acquire large amounts of factual material efficiently.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The article is based on the first author’s dissertation in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree at UW-Madison. We wish to thank the members of the dissertation committee: Robert Davidson, Maribeth Gettinger, Penelope Peterson, and Joy Rice. We also wish to thank Bob Cavey for preparing the illustrations used in the study; and the stalf and students of East High School in Madison, WI, for their cooperation. Requests for reprints should be sent to Beverly J. Dretzke, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, WI 547024004.