Verbal Mediation in Learning and Memory
This chapter and the two that follow deal with research and theory related directly to the mediating functions of the symbolic processes in learning and memory. Such functions will be inferred from evidence based on direct experimental manipulation of the mediation processes as well as questionnaire data concerning the types of learning strategies subjects report using in a given task. We begin with verbal mediation because it has received the lion's share of attention in verbal learning research until very recently. Since the methodological problems and effective variables related to mediation have been explored most fully in that context, verbal mediation provides a background against which the more recent studies of imagery mediation can be compared in Chapter 10. It will be seen, however, that a separate consideration of verbal and imaginal mediation does not satisfactorily reveal the unique functional characteristics of either postulated process. Accordingly, Chapter 11 will be devoted to studies in which imaginal and verbal mediators have been explicitly compared. Only then will we be in a position to consider a comprehensive theoretical analysis that incorporates both processes, although specific theoretical issues will be considered throughout the three chapters.