Effect of Background Frequency of Occurrence on Difficulty of Verbal Discrimination Task.
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CALIF
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One list of 16 verbal discrimination VD pairs was composed. Pairs were heterogeneous with respect to background frequency of occurrence of the words. Half the pairs were constructed of similar words and half, dissimilar. Correct responses for three groups of subjects were high-frequency words correct, low-frequency words correct, and half high-frequency and half low-frequency words correct. Analysis showed that learning the latter list was significantly more difficult than learning the high frequency correct or low frequency correct lists. Results of the experiment were consistent with that which would have been predicted by the frequency theory of VD learning, or the use of contingent uncertainty from information theory. Author