Tactile Maps and a Test of the Conjoint Retention Hypothesis

  • Simon Ungar
  • Mark Blades
  • Christopher Spencer


Kulhavy and his colleagues found that when a map and related factual information were learned together, the probability of recalling the factual information was greater than when information was learned without a map, or with a list of place names. They account for this finding with their “conjoint retention” hypothesis - a corollary of Paivio’s “dual coding” theory. The present study extended this research by including a group of blind and visually impaired participants who learned a tactile map. Twelve blind and visually impaired participants and forty-eight sighted participants learned either a map (map condition) or a list of place names (list condition) for either 10 minutes or 2 minutes and then heard a text describing places on the map/list. After a filled pause, participants were asked to recall information from the text and, in the map condition, to make a reconstruction of the map. Kulhavy’s original finding was replicated for sighted participants who studied the map/list for 10 minutes. However, sighted participants exposed to the map/list for 2 minutes and blind participants performed at the same level with both the map and with the list. In all cases, differences between conditions were small. Further analyses revealed that encoding of the map’s structure, a crucial variable in Kulhavy’s model, may not have been a major factor in determining recall of factual information.


Mental Rotation Mental Image List Condition Blind People Impaired People 
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© Springer-Verlag London 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Ungar
  • Mark Blades
  • Christopher Spencer

There are no affiliations available

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