Verbal Behavior and Learning: Problems and Processes: Proceedings

By Charles N. Cofer; Barbara S. Musgrave | Go to book overview
language habits. Looking over this material again after reading Brown and Fraser's paper, I would still maintain that conclusion. However, some of the evidence suggests also, I think, that the subjects remembered the material in telegraphic or abbreviated form and made English out of what they remembered, as they recited. For example, if the "main" words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs) of a passage are scored, their learning is accomplished more quickly than the learning of the total passage ( Cofer, 1941). Error analysis yields consistent findings ( Cofer, 1943). For example, one sentence in one passage contained seven main words and five minor ones. Nine of the 24 subjects made no errors on the main words during the acquisition trials, while all subjects made errors on one or more of the minor words one or more times. The errors on the major words included no omissions; most of them were changes in verb form or substitutions of synonyms. One of the minor words was omitted by 19 subjects on one or more trials, and 13 subjects omitted another one. Other changes, of course, involved substitution errors. These data are only suggestive, but it seems to me that they do fit a notion of selective attention to and learning of the information-carrying items.This is not direct proof, certainly, that adult memory is a construction based on a telegraphic version of the original material. To study this problem further and more directly we need subjects who can be made to tell us what they really remember of what they hear or read and not to put these memories into ordinary English. If we can get subjects to do this, it would not surprise me if their memories, aside from span factors and maturity of vocabulary, would resemble the reduced English of Brown and Fraser's youngsters.
REFERENCES
Cofer C. N. ( 1941) "A comparison of logical and verbatim learning of prose passages of different lengths". Amer. J. Psychol., 54, 1-20.
Cofer C. N. ( 1943) "An analysis of errors made in the learning of prose materials". J. Exp. Psychol., 32, 399-410.
Cofer C. N. (Ed.) ( 1961) "Verbal learning and verbal behavior". New York: McGraw-Hill.
Deese J. ( 1961) "From the isolated verbal unit to connected discourse". In C. N. Cofer (Ed.), "Verbal learning and verbal behavior". New York: McGraw-Hill. Pp. 11-31.
Goss A. E. ( 1961) "Acquisition and use of conceptual schemes". In C. N. Cofer (Ed.), Verbal learning and verbal behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill. Pp. 42-69.

SUMMARY OF CONFERENCE DISCUSSION

One point which arose early in the discussion was a denial by Mandler and Deese that their formulation, as quoted by Cofer in his remarks,

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Verbal Behavior and Learning: Problems and Processes: Proceedings
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction and Summary 1
  • Chapter 2 - An Analysis of The Recognition Process 10
  • Comments on Professor Murdock's Paper 21
  • Chapter 3 - Stimulus Selection In Verbal Learning 33
  • References 48
  • References 48
  • References 67
  • Chapter 4 - Meaningfulness and Familiarity 76
  • Comments on Professor Noble's Paper 115
  • References 151
  • Chapter 5 - The Acquisition of Syntax 158
  • References 194
  • References 197
  • References 201
  • Chapter 6 - Mediated Associations: Paradigms and Situations 210
  • References 240
  • Comments on Professor Jenkins's Paper 242
  • References 245
  • References 252
  • Chapter 7 - Purpose and the Problem Of Associative Selectivity 258
  • References 289
  • Chapter 8 - One-Trial Learning 295
  • References 319
  • Comments on Professor Postman's Paper 320
  • References 328
  • Brief Notes on the Epam Theory Of Verbal Learning 332
  • References 333
  • Chapter 9 - Immediate Memory: Data and Theory 336
  • Comments on Professor Peterson's Paper 351
  • References 353
  • Chapter 10 - Summary and Evaluation 374
  • Index 383
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