Zwaardemaker Smell System


ZYZ. The term zyz is a trigram or nonsense syllable (of the form "consonant-vowel-consonant," or CVC) representative of the experimentally-controlled meaningless "non-words" and verbal material originally used by the German psychologist Hermann von Ebbinghaus (1850-1909) in his classical memory studies around 1878. Nonsense syllables (still used today in psychological laboratories) were constructed, initially, in order to provide materials to participants in memory experiments that are relatively homogeneous, evoke very few mental associations or little prior learning, and are easily partitioned into objectively equal units amenable to quantitative research methodology. Just as Horace B. English and Ava C. English, and Raymond J. Corsini, chose this particular bogus nonsense syllable of zyz as a suitable final entry in their respective dictionaries, it seems appropriate that I do likewise (!). See also FORGET-TING/MEM-ORY, THEORIES OF; REFERENCES

Ebbinghaus, H. von (1885/1964). Uber das gedachtnis. Leipzig: Duncker/New York: Dover. English, H. B., & English, A. C. (1958/1976).

A comprehensive dictionary of psychological and psychoanalytical terms. New York: David McKay. Corsini, R. J. (2002). The dictionary of psychology. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

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