Verbal Behavior and Learning: Problems and Processes: Proceedings

By Charles N. Cofer; Barbara S. Musgrave | Go to book overview
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Schulz R. W., & McGehee Nan E. ( 1960) Mediation in verbal paired associate learning. Paper read at Midwest. Psychol. Ass., Chicago.
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Wynne R. D., & Cofer C. N. ( 1958) On meaning, association and transfer. (Unpublished manuscript, privately circulated.)


George Mandler


Over the past few years, the weight of evidence for the mediation hypothesis has made the phenomenon more than a curiosity; it approaches the status of established fact. It is this weight and persistence that makes it possible for Professor Jenkins to do something few psychologists should or would dare to offer, and even fewer would hope to have accepted. He is able to present a line of argument and theoretical discussion based to a large extent on a massive negative finding--the failure of the four-stage mediation paradigm. This can be done only when the weight of past evidence and past experience is such that we know that these negative findings must lead to a reexamination of the general hypothesis, not to any puny carping about design or procedure. Professor Jenkins knew there was something wrong because he had known how to do it right for so many years.

In the first part of my discussion I want to comment on some of the problems raised by Professor Jenkins within the framework of the mediation models--particularly one based on word-association norms. In the second part I want to depart from the mediation mold, take a second


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