Full Text

Dual Coding Theory

Prabu David

Subject Psychology
Communication Reception and Effects » Information Processing and Cognitions

Key-Topics memory

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


In the typical demonstration of dual coding, a list consisting of an equal number of pictures and words is presented to study participants. On encountering an item in the list, the study participant is asked to read the word or name the picture. Later, when the items are recalled, twice as many pictures than words are recalled. This picture-superiority effect, or the better recall of pictures over words, can be attributed to dual coding, which is the activation of traces in visual and verbal memory systems. While the verbal system is dedicated to processing of linguistic information, such as words and sentences, which are represented as discrete units or “logogens” and processed sequentially, the visual or imagistic system is dedicated to the processing of images, which are processed more holistically and represented through units referred to as “imagens” ( Paivio 2006 ). The complementary role of two distinct, but interconnected, visual and verbal systems is at the heart of dual coding theory (DCT). According to DCT, pictures benefit from dual activation. First, the visual system has to interpret or decode the picture. Second, the verbal system has to generate a verbal label for the picture that has been activated in the visual system. Because the systems are interconnected, the activations are pooled, thus enhancing memory for the pictures. The pooling of activations from the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top