Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)






Paired-association learning



Physical Description

1 online resource (29 p.)


The purposes of this study were to evaluate the effect of different rest interval activities in distributed practice (DP) upon the rate of learning a PA task, to evaluate the effectiveness of different rest interval activities in controlling rehearsal, and to investigate the role of rehearsal in DP performance.

Three experiments compared three different pairs of rest interval activities. One pair of activities, color naming (CN) and sequential addition (SA), was machine paced (MFA). A second pair, cartoon reading (CR) and symbol cancellation (SC), was self-paced (SPA). The third pair required no formal activity (NFA), Ss were instructed to rehearse (R) or not to rehearse (NR). Besides different rest interval activities two other independent variables were manipulated. The length of the intertrial period was set at either 30 or 60 seconds. Two lists differed in items but were constructed to be comparable. The dependent variables were the number of trials required to learn the list to a criterion of one perfect trial and the responses of Ss to a questionnaire on the amount and method of rehearsal. Ss were 240 college students. Data from the three experiments were analyzed separately by analysis of variance and then combined to make an overall comparison with analysis of variance with tasks considered as nested factors. After completing the paired associates (PA) task, each S was administered a questionnaire to determine if he had rehearsed and if so the amount, time, and method of rehearsal. Analysis of the data showed the ON, SA, CR, and SO produced no significant difference in rate of learning, nor did NR and R differ. Overall comparison showed that NR and R produced faster learning than the OR and SO. The analysis of the questionnaire showed that the different tasks varied in amount of control of rehearsal, but there were no differences in rate of learning related to amount of rehearsal reported.

The conclusions drawn were that the facilitative affect of rehearsal is unproven, that requiring formal activity produces slower learning than having no formal rest interval task and that the SA should be used to nearly eliminate rehearsal.


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