The effects of phonetic symbolism and associative meaningfulness on verbal learning

Date

1969

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Abstract

This research was an investigation of the effects of phonetic symbolism and associative meaningfulness upon the rate of verbal learning. Sixty radical patients from the San Francisco Veterans Hospital served as subjects. Four word lists were constructed, each of which consisted of consonant-vowel- consonant constructions paired with words. These lists were as follows: a) high phonetic congruence, high associative meaningfulness; b) low phonetic congruence, high associative meaningfulness; c) high phonetic congruence, low associative meaningfulness; and d) low phonetic congruence, low associative meaningfulness. Each of the subjects was administered one of the four lists on a memory drum at a 2:2 second rate with an intertrial interval of 2 seconds. The experimental task was to learn this list to one perfect recall. The results of the study indicated that there were no significant differences between lists of high and low phonetic congruence in either the number of trials or the number of correct responses. However; a significantly larger number of errors occurred with lists of low phonetic congruence as compared with those of high phonetic congruence. Lists of high associative meaningfulness were learned in significantly fewer trials and with significantly fewer errors than lists of low associative meaningfulness. No significant differences in the number of correct responses between lists of high and low associative meaningfulness were found. It was concluded that the effects of phonetic symbolism and associative meaningfulness are both important and relevant in verbal learnings.

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Keywords

Verbal learning, Onomatopoeia

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