Learning principles from text

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Presented 162 high school juniors and seniors with 2-page descriptions of classical conditioning. Ss also received an additional page with further material on classical conditioning or 1 of 2 passages explaining the principle that intermittent reinforcement causes resistance to extinction. Ss then took a test that required them to apply that principle to particular instances which were identical, similar, or dissimilar to the test example. Groups that read a relevant passage performed significantly better on each type of item than the control group. Scores were highest on identical items, slightly lower on similar items, and significantly lower on dissimilar items. Since the test sentences could be learned by rote, the identical test items, which repeated test examples verbatim, did not reveal unequivocally whether the S comprehended the principle. However, the similar and dissimilar items did not share substantive language with the text and it can be claimed that comprehension was required in order to get these items right. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-30
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1973


  • concept learning from text, high school students
  • systematic experimental analysis, feasibility of exploring principle &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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