The effect of visual and verbal modes of presentation on children's retention of images and words

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Abstract

This study tested the hypothesis that the use of two modes of presenting information to children has an additive memory effect for the retention of both images and words. Subjects were 22 first-grade and 22 fourth-grade children randomly assigned to visual and visual-verbal treatment groups. The visual-verbal group heard a description while observing an object; the visual group observed the same object but did not hear a description. Children were tested individually immediately after presentation of stimuli and two weeks later. They were asked to represent the information recalled through a drawing and an oral verbal description. In general, results supported the hypothesis and indicated, in addition, that children represent more information in iconic (pictorial) form than in symbolic (verbal) form. Strategies for using these results to enhance science learning at the elementary school level are discussed.

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