Prose organization and recall

John F. Carter, Carol Carrier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In two experiments, subjects read prose materials with various organizations of the superordinate and subordinate conceptual structure of the passage. Variables included organizational salience, massed versus distributed repetition of the passage, nature of the cueing at recall, and number of exposures. In Experiment I, distributed repetition resulted in superior recall, extending the generality of that effect to prose materials; and an advance organizer treatment resulted in lower recall for scrambled materials, contrary to Ausubel's (1960) cognitive theory. High ability subjects recalled more categories than low ability subjects, but the same amount of within-category information. In Experiment II, materials which increased the salience of the organizational structure of the passage were better recalled than scrambled materials after three exposures, or on a test which cued the major categories in the passage. Cueing was detrimental to performance for subjects reading the scrambled passage. Results are discussed in terms of implications for educational practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-345
Number of pages17
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1976
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was completed while the senior author was assistant professor at Syracuse University and was supported in part by the Navy Personnel Research and Development Center, San Diego, under contract number NOO953-74M-C044. Thanks are due Ms. Evi Lan-tos for work on preparing the materials used in the project. A version of this paper was read at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC, April, 1975. The opinions and assertions contained herein are those of the authors and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Navy Department or naval service. Requests for reprints should be sent to John F. Carter, Navy Personnel Research and Development Center, San Diego, CA 92152.


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