Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Greg Simpson

Second Advisor

Joseph C. LaVoie

Third Advisor

James M. Thomas


Children’s ability to use mnemonic techniques was investigated in first, fourth and sixth graders. Children in each age group were assigned to one of three conditions: method of loci, story mnemonic or elaborative control group. Subjects were given three recall tests. Each test was scored with and without regard to the order in which subjects recalled the words presented. Relative to the control group, both mnemonic conditions showed an advantage in memorizing lists of 20 words. However, all conditions, including the elaborative control group showed significant increases in the number of words recalled between the baseline test and recall Test III. No significant differences were found between conditions when recall tests were scored without regard to order or by a strict positional criterion whereby subjects received credit for recalling a word only when it was placed in its correct position. A significant difference was found for the mnemonic method most effective at the different age levels studied. First graders scored significantly higher when using the story mnemonic whereas sixth graders scored highest when using the method of loci. Fourth graders were able to use both mnemonic techniques equally well. Both fourth and sixth graders scored significantly higher than the first grade subjects. No significant difference was found between the fourth and sixth grade levels in the number of words recalled within each condition. It appears a developmental trend may be present whereby younger children are able to use linguistic mnemonics more effectively and older children utilize imagery based mnemonics most efficiently. A transitional stage present at the fourth grade level enables children at this age to use either type of mnemonic in an effective manner.

Included in

Psychology Commons