Relational labels can improve relational retrieval


Retrieval that is based on common relational structure, such as an underlying principle or pattern, is useful but typically rare. Based on evidence that comparison-derived schema abstraction can improve relational retrieval, we asked whether the use of relational labels can also promote abstraction and improve relational retrieval. Using a cued-recall paradigm, we varied the presence of relational labels at encoding and test. As compared to a no-label baseline condition, relational retrieval improved when relational labels were given at encoding and at test and also when relational labels were given only at encoding. The findings demonstrate that one way to improve relational retrieval is through the use of labels that name relational structure.

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