chapter  3
33 Pages

Deeper forms of coding

One such use will now be described. The technique employed in the investigation of natural language mediators (NLMs) (see Prytulak, 1971, for a review) has usually been paired-associate learning. This technique was originally devised to investigate how subjects acquired the associative connection between a stimulus and a response term. The aim was to eliminate prior learning as a confounding factor by using nonsense syllables, presumed to be novel items in the subjects' experience. However, it was soon found that such control was impossible. Subjects coded the stimulus as presented by using various aspects of their linguistic repertoire. Thus it was found, for example, that some nonsense syllables were more meaningful than others, in the sense that they elicited more word associates in a period permitted for free association. The way in which the subject coded the stimulus term was called a mediating response.