Break down the walls : how the “folder effect” influences the transfer of learning

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Date

2011-05

Authors

He, Jingjie

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Abstract

Categorizing knowledge into different disciplines and units may block knowledge within separate “folders”, which could limit its later retrieval and transfer to new contexts. To test this hypothesis, two experiments had been conducted. In one experiment, participants memorized a list of words with or without cuing which category these words belonged to. One week later, they were asked to recall all the positive adjectives, which required them to retrieve words that came from different categories. In the other experiment, participants read exactly the same story but embedded in two different subject domains or no context. A survey report was presented to test whether people from different contexts would have different transfer effect. The current study replicated previous results that successful transfer was hard to observe in the laboratory settings without explicit prompts. The memory test and transfer task in this study were too difficult and resulted into to the poor performance of the participants. The initial hypothesis had been neither supported nor rejected. To test the hypothesis, future studies could reduce the time interval between study and test, and modified the transfer task to lower the difficulty of the experiment.

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