Elaboration structure and list length effects on verbal elaboration phenomena

Martha L Thurlow, James E. Turnure

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8 Scopus citations


The effects of elaboration structure (Sentence, Semantic paragraph, Syntactic paragraph) and list length (8, 12, 16 pairs) on paired-associate learning were investigated in a 3 × 3 factorial design. Seventy-five educable retardates were tested on acquisition (S-R) and reversal (R-S) tasks. Significant acquisition differences were found in the 8-pair list, where Semantic paragraph Ss performed better than Sentence Ss. In the longer lists, all structures were equally effective in facilitating acquisition (mean first trial correct = 60%), as well as reversal (mean correct = 95%). Sentence form (declarative, imperative, interrogative) was controlled in each elaboration structure. Analyses indicated that significantly fewer acquisition errors were made on pairs presented in declarative and imperative, as opposed to interrogative, elaborations. Tests of recall for the elaborations revealed that Ss in all conditions generally recalled them as declarative sentences. Further observations at 24 pairs confirmed the 12- and 16-pair findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-195
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1972

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Recent investigations by Turnure (1971; Turnure &, Walsh, 1971) on the effects of extended verbal contexts seemed to confirm Rohwer’s hy- ‘The research reported is based on the first author’s Master’s thesis, conducted under the direction of the second author. Preparation of this paper was supported in part by a Grant to the University of Minnesota Research and Development Center in Education of Handicapped Children (OEG-o-9-332189-4533-032) from the Bureau of Education of the Handicapped, U. S. Office of Education. Appreciation is extended to Dr. Arthur M. Taylor and to Mrs. Sharon N. Larsen for the important suggestions and criticisms they provided, and to the principals, teachers, and children of the St. Paul public schools for their patient cooperation. 184 Copyright @ 1972 by Academic Press, Inc. All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.

Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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