Honors Theses


Robert Crutcher, Ph.D.



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Honors Thesis


A proven mnemonic method called the Keyword Method can be used to learn concrete word pairs, such as when learning a foreign language. In the Keyword Method, an English word that sounds or looks similar to the foreign word (the “keyword”) is used to relate the foreign word and its English equivalent (Raugh & Atkinson, 1975). There are two steps to the keyword method. The first is to learn the foreign word, English translation and English keyword. The second step is to then create an interactive visual image using the English word and keyword (Raugh & Atkinson, 1975). This second step was the focus of this study. To date, there is little research on why interactive visual imagery is so effective for learning and memory. This experiment investigated this question by using the interactive visual images created by the keyword method to learn Indonesian-English word pairs. One possible reason tested in this experiment was the nature of the interaction described. An active interaction creates an active image where one subject is acting upon another, and a static interaction when no action is evident. This experiment presented participants with two sentences for each word pairing with one sentence describing a static relationship, and the other describing an active interaction. In addition, participants took part in a control condition where they were instructed to learn the foreign word pairings using rote rehearsal only. It was hypothesized that the static interaction group would recall significantly more word pairs than the control group, while those presented with the active interactions would learn and recall the highest number of word pairs overall. The results showed a significant effect of type of interaction on word recall, with the active interaction condition scoring high than both the static and control conditions on a cued recall test.

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This item is protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and may only be used for noncommercial, educational, and scholarly purposes


Undergraduate research, mnemonic devices, foreign language learning, keyword method, interactive visual imagery


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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