Normative data for Chinese-English paired associates

  • Kit W. ChoEmail author
  • Chi-Shing Tse
  • Yuen-Lai Chan


Paired-associate learning is one of the most commonly used paradigms to study human memory. In many of these studies, participants are typically told to learn foreign language–English translations, such as Swahili–English or Lithuanian–English pairs. One limitation of these currently available foreign language–English translation norms is that their foreign languages are based on the alphabetic writing system, thereby preventing researchers from generalizing their findings to languages based on logographic writing systems. In the present study we collected normative data for 160 Chinese–English word pairs. Participants completed three study–test cycles, followed by metacognitive judgments on their learning experience. For each pair, we report recall performance, recall latency, ease of learning, and judgments of learning. A simultaneous multiple regression analysis with frequency (of both the English word and the Chinese character), word length (English), and number of strokes (Chinese) as predictors revealed that a greater number of strokes (or higher visual complexity) for the Chinese characters predicted lower target recall.


Paired associates Chinese–English translations Cued recall Episodic memory 


Author note

We thank Silvia Caamano, Jessica Cantu, Erin Chaniago, Jennifer A. Lara, Nikolas Morgan, Monica Orellana, and Elizabeth Ruiz-Harris for their assistance in collecting data for the study.


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Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social SciencesUniversity of Houston–DowntownHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational PsychologyChinese University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong

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