Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Eiling Yee, Marie Coppola

Field of Study

Psychological Sciences


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


The current study aimed to examine how word and concept learning is related to comprehension ability beyond decoding skill. The study considered nonverbal concept construction and verbal label mapping in explicit and implicit paradigms to determine which aspects of concept learning were easiest for individuals with low comprehension skill. A sample of 28 undergraduate student participants completed two sets of word and concept learning, where they learned categories of novel items grouped on one nonverbal and one verbal feature. After learning, they were asked to indicate which items belonged to the same category. Accuracy, reaction time, and eye movements were measured during this test task. Using a continuous analysis, comprehension was not related to performance on the category learning task, but vocabulary and nonverbal IQ were. A later group analysis, splitting the subjects into better comprehenders (BC), poorer comprehenders with high vocabulary (PCHV) and poorer comprehenders with low vocabulary (PCLV) showed that PCLV subjects performed worse than their PCHV peers on all types of learning. Thus, the results suggest that vocabulary, but not comprehension, is related to word and concept learning. Limitations regarding the comprehension method used for the study are discussed. This study is one of few to consider novel word and concept learning in relation to comprehension.

Ryherd_Masters_SupplementalData_Revision.pdf (86 kB)
Simple Label Mapping Supplemental Data

Major Advisor

Nicole Landi