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nonsense syllables are meaningless sets of two consonants with a vowel switched in between. first used by Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, they are used to study memory and forgetting. remembering nonsense syllables relies on simple acoustic coding and maintenance rehearsal rather than on elaborative rehearsal, semantic coding, or other ways of making learning meaningful (Psychology in the New Millenium, p. 272). these syllables help to measure memorization in studies of the three basic memory tasks of recognition, recall, and relearning. these studies have led to many conclusions on the nature of forgetting.

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