Mnemonic facilitation of artists and their paintings: Effects of familiarity and correspondence


Previous research has demonstrated that the mnemonic keyword method can be successfully adapted to associating artists with their paintings on matching tests-the kind of task that students may face in an art appreciation course. However, when students were asked to print the artists' names when prompted by the paintings, mnemonic recall advantages were inconsistent. Three new artwork-learning experiments with college students are reported, which validate two practical suggestions for facilitating recall of unfamiliar names. In Experiment 1, the learners' familiarity with the unfamiliar artists' names was increased via an initial writing practice stage. In Experiment 2, multiple (rather than single) keywords provided a more complete correspondence from which to reconstruct unfamiliar names. In Experiment 3, the two approaches were combined. With each of these modifications, strong mnemonic strategy effects emerged. These results should generalize well to other classroom-learning situations where recall of unfamiliar material is required, such as recalling an unfamiliar term from its definition. © 1991.

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Contemporary Educational Psychology