My Quoc Vu

Date of Graduation

Spring 2015


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Russell Carney


The keyword method is a mnemonic device used to improve memory. The purpose of this study is to examine whether the keyword method can facilitate higher-order learning and whether the interactive image component of the keyword method is necessary. Participants were asked to study 18 psychologists and their concepts. Undergraduates were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: an own best method control group, and three variations of the keyword method. The variations in the keyword method were related to the "interactive image” aspect of that strategy. The dependent measures measured whether the keyword method can facilitate higher order-learning levels as defined by Bloom's taxonomy. Descriptively, all mnemonic conditions outperformed the own best method (control) group on both matching and higher-order learning measures. However, only one statistically significant difference emerged, perhaps due in part to limited sample size. Based on effect sizes, the findings suggest that the traditional keyword method can facilitate higher-order learning. Also, the effect sizes imply that the interactive image component is not necessary in lower level learning such as "remembering” but the interactive image component is necessary for retention in higher levels of learning such as "understanding” and "applying.” Descriptively, the keyword method can facilitate higher-order learning, but variations of the interactive component cannot and are less likely to improve memory compared to the keyword method.


memory, keyword method, Bloom's taxonomy, higher-order learning, interactive image

Subject Categories



© My Quoc Vu

Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons