The statistical evidence for negative transfer in part-whole free recall

Research paper by Michael S. Humphreys, Robert M. Schwartz

Indexed on: 01 Nov '72Published on: 01 Nov '72Published in: Behavior Research Methods


A series of studies on part-whole free recall led to the conclusion that learning part of a list before learning the entire list produces negative transfer late in learning. The statistical evidence for this conclusion is shown to depend upon assumptions about (1) the asymptotic level reached and (2) the relative magnitude of the variance between conditions as compared to the variance of Ss within conditions. Evidence concerning these assumptions is reviewed, and it is argued that there was insufficient evidence to support a conclusion of negative transfer in part-whole free recall.