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Enhancing the learning of new words using an errorless learning procedure: Evidence from typical adults

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Two experiments compared the efficacy of errorless and errorful training procedures in the acquisition of novel words in typical adults. One experiment involved learning novel names for novel objects, while a second involved learning obscure English words and their definitions. In both studies the errorless method led to significantly better learning as assessed by an immediate cued recall test. The errorless advantage was characterised by a reduction in extra-experimental intrusion errors and was still present when learning was re-tested 3–4 days after training. In contrast there was no errorless advantage in recognition of word-to-object pairings. Taken together, these results suggest that errorless learning procedures improve retrieval by leading to the creation of better-specified, retrievable representations in long-term memory.
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Keywords: Errorful learning; Errorless learning; Retrieval; Typical adults; Word learning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of York, UK

Publication date: July 4, 2014

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