I need to describe two conditions in an experiment. In condition a) a child was given a list of words and explanations and later asked for their meaning. In condition b) a child was not given a list of words, but nevertheless asked for their meaning subsequently.

How would you label these two conditions. I don't like "learned" vs. "not learned" because it implies learning which must might not have taken place.

  • Prepared/unprepared? Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 13:21
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    – user405662
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 13:27
  • 1
    You could label the two groups "aided" and "control" respectively. Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 15:18

2 Answers 2


In the context of psycholinguistic experiments, you sometimes see:

  • Condition A is trained
  • Condition B is naïve

Another user has suggested control and experimental, but for me, this implies that the untrained group will be regarded in statistical analysis as a baseline of no experimental interest. But this might not be the case for various reasons: for example, one may be interested in interference or learning effects which unfold throughout the presentation of stimuli.

By the way, not sure if you are German ("muss nicht..."), but "must not have taken place" should be "need not have taken place" in English ;-)


What you've described is the difference between working and semantic memory tests.

Working memory is memory that involves storing, focusing attention on, and manipulating information for a relatively short period of time. (Websters Medical)


Semantic memory is the long-term memory of facts, information, and meanings that are not related to any specific event personally experienced in the past. (Websters Medical)

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