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Paired-Associate Learning

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Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning


Associative learning


Paired-associate learning is a classic memory paradigm that is used to understand how people encode and retrieve newly formed associations among stimuli. In a typical study using paired-associate learning, people are asked to learn unrelated word pairs (e.g., stove – letter). At a later time point, memory for those pairs is typically tested by having them either recall one of the words in response to the word it was paired with during encoding (e.g., recall the word that was paired with “stove”), or by asking them to distinguish between word pairs that were encoded together (e.g., stove – letter) and word pairs composed of two words that were studied, but were not paired during encoding (e.g., stove – dance; known as associative recognition).

Theoretical Background

Paired-associate learning has most commonly been used to examine and understand the mechanisms of learning and forgetting of information. Because classic paired-associate learning...

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Correspondence to Jason Arndt .

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© 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

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Arndt, J. (2012). Paired-Associate Learning. In: Seel, N.M. (eds) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer, Boston, MA.

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