Verbal Learning Case Study

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1. What is verbal learning and what was Ebbinghaus trying to show with his experiments? Verbal learning is the process of learning and memorizing lists of words as well as the processes of retention and acquisition of the overall learning process. However, verbal learning also applies to the learning of faces, pictures, sounds, sequencing, odors, location, and other variables outside of simply a list of words. It is an active process of learning where the subject engages with the list they are aiming to memorize by employ different tactics to do so more effectively. Ebbinghaus introduced many of the first methods associated with verbal learning; concerning himself with predominately with variables associated with repetition count and pacing, …show more content…
What is serial learning and what are some of its variables? Serial learning is the process of memorizing a list until it can be recalled and repeated perfectly. Serial learning tasks require a subject to recall lists that were studied and can be tested in one of three ways: number or items recalled, correct sequencing of items, or number of errors made. Items must not only be recalled, but their positioning must also be correct which makes the process of memorization more complex. The serial-position effect is one variable that can aid or interfere with ease of memorization. In this variable, it is said that items in the beginning and ending items in a list are typically learned more effective and efficiently than said items in the middle of the list. This may be in part due to the end and beginning of the list serving as context anchors, and therefore are more readily and easily recalled when the same context is again presented. On the other hand, those items in the middle of the list anchor to each other rather than the context of positioning making it harder to recall their sequence. Rehearsal hypothesis state that the reason items in the beginning are learned better is because they are repeated and rehearsed the most out of the list; ending items are rehearsed the soonest before one trial ends and another begins giving them a different type of extended rehearsal. As for the middle items, the time spent rehearsing them is more evenly divided during the trial …show more content…
When this occurs, items in a list serve as cues or context for another item in the list. This does not mean that each item serves to only create context for the item following it, but rather it creates different strength connections across distances. Ebbinghaus tested this theory and found that in memorizing lists, depending on the degree of removal of one item from the originally learned list, the amount of savings also differed. This forming of remote associations may also present the reasoning behind why when reciting certain speeches or poetry, despite forgetting lines in the middle the person recalling it can remember the ending. However, there is a great deal of controversy regarding remote association. Lashley commented that memorized items usually happen in the form of grouping and units, and Estes presented a theory that better captured the grouping phenomenon through hierarchical associations. In this theory, lists are broken into sections and subsections and smaller divisions from there; certain items activate the higher form of grouping which provides the context for the subgrouping and so on. If this is the case, then it allows for certain items to be primed and ready for recollection upon activation of the higher orders; this also explains where in subgroups certain items are exchanged in position, but do not cross over into other

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