Strengthening associations: duration, attention, or relations?

Margaret M. Bradley, Arthur M. Glenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Associations formed between two words when subjects were induced to maintain the two words by overt Type I rehearsal in a secondary, incidental learning task. Duration of the rehearsal activity, however, failed to strengthen the association (improve memory for cooccurrence), despite use of transfer-appropriate recognition tests and sensitive paired-associate learning transfer tasks used to measure associative strength. In addition, varying the amount of cognitive capacity allocated to the rehearsal task also failed to produce evidence of increases in associative strength with longer durations of Type I rehearsal. These results disconfirmed a hypothesis suggesting that the automaticity of the rehearsal process was responsible for the lack of duration effects. The results are consistent with the idea that association formation is dependent upon processing a relation between two words, and that the strength of the association is a function of the number of different relations processed, rather than being solely dependent on either sheer duration of processing or the amount of cognitive capacity devoted to processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)650-666
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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