Three hypotheses are discussed as explanations for the result that pairs of concrete nouns are more easily remembered than are pairs of abstract nouns: the imagery hypothesis, the familiarity hypothesis, and the concreteness hypothesis. Two experiments are reported in which the degree of visual imagery associated with the components of paired associate items was not indicative of the degree of visual imagery experienced during their learning or with the accuracy with which they were recalled. It was found that pairs of related abstract nouns were rated higher in imagery and familiarity than were pairs of unrelated concrete nouns, but recall of the higher imagery pairs was poorer. The concreteness hypothesis is discussed as the best explanation for the results. The concreteness hypothesis proposes that people learn to associate the labels of concrete objects by using their real-world knowledge of the potential relations between categories of objects. Dual coding theory and schema theory are also discussed as explanations for mediation learning, and the issue of visual imagery as an epiphenomenon is addressed.
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This research was supported in part by a grant to the second author by the Field-Wiltsie Foundation.
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Day, J.C., Bellezza, F.S. The relation between visual imagery mediators and recall. Memory & Cognition 11, 251–257 (1983). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03196971
- Word Pair
- Visual Imagery
- Composite Image
- Concrete Object
- Blind Subject