Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The present study was designed to investigate immediate and delayed recall of abstract and concrete nouns learned using a verbal or imagery set. On the basis of the Dual Coding Hypothesis, it was predicted that concrete nouns would be recalled better than abstract nouns for both immediate and delayed recall. It was further expected that imagery instructions would facilitate recall of concrete nouns more than abstract nouns for both immediate and delayed recall. A secondary interest was to investigate the amount of organization in the recall protocols of subjects for both immediate and delayed recall. According to the Organizational Hypothesis by Begg (1972, 1973), it was predicted that the concrete noun condition would result in more recall organization than the abstract noun condition, and that the concrete noun imagery instruction condition would result in the greatest organization of all conditions. Forty male and female subjects were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions; concrete noun-imagery instructions, concrete noun-repetition instructions, abstract noun-imagery instructions, abstract noun-repetition instructions.

Each group of 10 was presented with a list of 30 words to learn. One list consisted of nouns with high imagery-concreteness ratinas and the other list was composed of nouns with low imaaery-concreteness ratings. The subjects were instructed to learn the words by using imagery or repetition. After the 30 word list had been presented, the task was to write down the words from memory. The subjects were told to return in one week for the second part of the study which would be "different". When the subjects returned in one week, they were asked to write down all of the words they could remember from the list presented the previous week. After completing this recall trial, the subjects were asked to indicate how they had recalled each word by writing a number beside it. Number 1 was to be used if they "recalled an image or mental picture" first, number 2 was to indicate "recalled the word", and number 3 was to indicate some other recall method, which they were to describe. Recall frequencies were treated with an analysis of variance procedure. Recall organization or clustering was first examined using the Adjusted Ratio of Clustering (ARC) developed by Roenker et al. (1971). This data was then transformed into Arcsin values and cast into an analysis of variance. The proportion of words recalled by each recall strategy was transformed into arcsin values and also cast into an analysis of variance. The results of this study showed that both immediate as well as delayed recall are better for concrete material learned using imagery instructions than for all other combinations of word type and instructions. Repetition as a mode of learning concrete material results in inferior recall performance when compared with the use of imagery. Abstract material was learned equally well with either repetition or imagery instructions. It was also found that retention loss is less for delayed recall in imagery coded concrete material than for any other combination of material and learning instructions. The recall strategy data did not provide ahy useful information, probably due to subjects' confusion in understanding the instructions.

The recall organization data showed that recall was not correlated with organization in this study. It was concluded that the results of this study are generally in support of the Dual Coding Hypothesis (Bower, 1969; Paivio, 1969) and fail to support the Organizational Hypothesis (Beqg, 1972).