Dual coding theory was developed by Allan Paivio in 1971 and in 1986 to explain an aspect of human cognition. This theory states that human recall and recognition are enhanced when nonverbal information is accompanied by verbal information. For example, if you show someone an image of a boy marked with the word boy and the word boy is spoken aloud at the same time, the person shown the ...
Dual coding theory was developed by Allan Paivio in 1971 and in 1986 to explain an aspect of human cognition. This theory states that human recall and recognition are enhanced when nonverbal information is accompanied by verbal information. For example, if you show someone an image of a boy marked with the word boy and the word boy is spoken aloud at the same time, the person shown the image will better recognize and recall that image at a future point in time. The converse of this theory is that the recognition and recall of information will be weakened if only one medium of input is utilized.
Proponents of using technological advances to aid education use the dual coding theory to promote their views. They claim that dual coding lends justification to using multimedia applications in the classroom. Such multimedia applications make use of text, image, audio and video at the same time while traditional teaching methods remain focused on verbal presentation of material.
Paivio's theory of dual coding can be explained by the fact that there are levels to understanding. Verbal processing is the level that focuses on language while nonverbal processing is the level that focuses on the representations of nonverbal events. Both levels are important to the process of learning in humans. When these levels are combined, they stimulate an enhancement of human cognition and deduction.
The dual coding theory was designed to demonstrate the positive effects of concreteness in verbal processing. There is a representational difference between abstract and concrete words. The strength of the dual coding theory lies in its ability to explain why it is easier to recall concrete verbal materials compared to abstract materials.
Paivio advocated creating an imagery code. The researcher believed that developing such a code would appear to be the logical strategy for understanding and remembering sentences. However, in the case of an abstract sentence, there may not be an available, useful image that can accompany the verbal information. In this case, a verbal code may be all that a person can deduce.
Opponents of the dual coding theory -- and there are many -- make the case that abstract and concrete sentences are not equally understood. They claim that the difference in the ability to comprehend these two types of sentences might account for the observed pattern that has been labeled dual coding. Even so, the dual coding theory still presents the idea that concreteness and comprehensibility bear a relationship and as such, merit a good explanation.
Paivio's dual coding theory posits a verbal system he terms the logogen system that is distinct in structure and function from the image system he calls the imagen system. The logogen system was said by Paivio to be a system of logogens that corresponds somewhat to words and interconnects through an associative network of related information. These networks develop through associative experiences. This means that as we use and hear language, we draw associations from word to word. Spoken and written language are thought to activate logogens in the most direct and immediate manner.
On the other hand, the imagen system consists of sensory images that suggest characteristics of the original forms from which they arose. This system contains various permutations of partial to whole relationships that come from the sensory experience. The direct activation of imagens is said to be triggered by visual-spatial information.
The logogen and imagen systems can act together or alone as one processes language. There are links that can be used to cross-reference one system so that it activates the other. Concrete words are thought to have a stronger reference to the imagen system than do abstract words while the verbal associative links are not dissimilar in these two word types.
When one is reading or listening to textual/word material, that person's logogen system requires activation. However, in some cases, the imagen system is also activated, in particular, by concrete verbal material. Paivio said, "Precisely which images or descriptions will be activated at any moment depends upon the stimulus context interacting with the relative functional strength of the different referential connections."