Paul Stutzman

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. James Rowan

Degree Award Date

Spring 2003


Phrasing, Chunk Length, Human Serial Pattern Leaming


Applied Behavior Analysis | Cognition and Perception | Psychology


This honors project experiment examined how humans learn information presented in a series and the significance of phrasing. Fifty-six Bridgewater College students learned a simple exercise in which they had to anticipate which circle would be presented next from a group of 8 circles on a computer screen. Half of the students received a pattern of circles that was organized into 3- element chunks of information. The other half received a pattern organized into 6-element chunks. In addition, both the 3-element and 6-element groups received 3 types of phrasing: good, bad, and none. The results of the experiment show that subjects that received good phrasing performed, on average, fewer errors than those that received bad phrasing or no phrasing. However, the data shows a trend that approaches, but does not reach, significance. The potential for significant results exists if further research is done to increase the number of participants in the study.