THE EFFECTS OF MESSAGE INTRODUCTION, MESSAGE STRUCTURE, AND VERBAL ORGANIZING ABILITY UPON LEARNING OF MESSAGE INFORMATION

Authors

  • TOM D. DANIELS,

    1. Tom D. Daniels (Ph.D., Ohio University, 1979) is assistant professor in Communication and the Arts and Communication Processes, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, Wisconsin 54302. This article is based on his dissertation research.
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  • RICHARD F. WHITMAN

    1. Richard F. Whitman (Ph.D., University of Nebraska, 1971) is associate professor and director of graduate studies in the School of Interpersonal Communication, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 45701. He directed the dissertation upon which this article is based.
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Abstract

This study focused primarily upon Ausubel's advance organizer concept as a relatively abstract message introduction. Subsumption theory suggests that the advance organizer should be superior in learning effects to an introduction of message main points and that the advance organizer should interact with message structure and verbal organizing ability. This study found no overall advance organizer superiority to other introduction conditions. However, simple interactions, which were analyzed to interpret a significant three-way interaction on one of two dependent variables, provided qualified support for first-order interaction hypotheses. These hypotheses predicted that the superiority of an advance organizer to other introduction conditions would be greater for a low-structure message than for a high-structure message and greater for low-ability subjects than for high-ability subjects. They also included a prediction that the superiority of a high-structure message to a low-structure message would be greater for high-ability subjects than for low-ability subjects. Analysis of serial position effects indicated primacy in recall under high-structure message conditions.

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