Verbal elaboration and the promotion of transfer of training in educable mentally retarded children

James E. Turnure, Martha L Thurlow

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The ability of 23 educable retarded children to transfer verbal elaboration techniques to a standard paired-associate task was tested following one, two, or no elaboration experiences. An additional 18 retardates were tested in two outside control conditions, which were used to identify the effects of reversal experience (R-S recall) on acquisition and transfer. Since analyses revealed no differences in performance attributable to reversal experience, the two outside control conditions were combined with the appropriate experimental conditions for further statistical analyses. Relative to the performance of subjects not receiving elaboration experience, those receiving one elaboration experience showed little evidence of transfer while those receiving two elaboration experiences revealed quite clear transfer performance. The relevance of these findings to previous failures to find transfer and their implications for educational practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-148
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1973

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The oral presentation of noun pairs within a sentence context has proved to be an effective elaborational technique for facilitating paired-associate learning (see, for example, Jensen & Rohwer, 1965; Rohwer, 1966). Furt,hermore, such procedures have been found to produce striking increases in the paired-associate learning efficiency of mentally retarded individuals (cf., Jensen, 1966; Jensen & Rohwer, 1963b). In these studies and others (MacMillan, 1970;, 1967), retarded children were clearly capable of utilizing experimenter-provided elaborations to medi- ‘This research was supported in part by a grant to the University of Minnesota Research and Development Center in Education of Handicapped Children (OEG-0-9-332189-4533-032) from the U. S. Office of Education, and in part by grants to the University of Minnesota Center for Research in Human Learning from the National Science Foundation (GB-17590), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD-01136 and HD-00098) and the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota. The authors thank Drs. Arthur M. Taylor and S. Jay Samuel5 for helpful advice given at various phases of the study. Appreciation is extended to the principals, teachers, and children of the St, Paul Public Schools for their assistance with this research. The first author’s address is 14 Pattee Hall, University of Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN 55455.


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