Mnemonic instruction, with a focus on transfer.

Document Type


Publication Date



The authors conducted 4 experiments to examine mnemonic transfer in the form of knowledge generalization, in the context of an artwork-learning task. In each experiment, college students first studied a set of painting-artist name pairs using an adaptation of the face-name mnemonic technique. Immediate and 2-day delayed performance measures consisted of (a) tests over the studied paintings (memory) and (b) new tests over sets of nonstudied, yet thematically or stylistically similar, paintings by the same artists (transfer). In all 4 experiments mnemonic instruction produced memory benefits on a direct test over the studied paintings. Moreover, Experiments 1-3 indicated that on the transfer task mnemonic students who were directed to focus on the general theme or style of the artist outperformed both nonmnemonic control students and mnemonic students who focused on details of the paintings. Finally, the results of Experiment 4 further suggested that even when mnemonic-detail students are specifically informed about the nature of the forthcoming near-transfer task, their transfer performance is not facilitated.

Recommended Citation

Carney, Russell N., and Joel R. Levin. "Mnemonic instruction, with a focus on transfer." Journal of Educational Psychology 92, no. 4 (2000): 783.

DOI for the article