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Learning the Experimenter's Design Tacit: Sensitivity to the Structure of Memory Lists

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Two experiments are reported that draw an analogy between experiments on verbal memory and experiments on tacit learning. Rules that experimenters use to select words for memory experiments, such as frequency, length, and grammatical class, produce consistencies to which subjects can become sensitive. Replicating the key results from the tacit learning literature, subjects in our experiments discriminated new words consistent with the experimenters' selection rules from inconsistent words, even when they could not describe those rules. The results also reveal a close relation between the information underlying both recognition memory and classification judgements. In particular, a "mirror effect" (Glanzer & Bowles, 1976) is found with both tasks. Implications for research on memory and learning are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 1997


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