I am not certain if Zeller, writing in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, (1950) had much to do with the Eleven Plus. His interest, at this time, was looking at repression. He was concerned with the effect of failure or success on memory as measured by relearning.
He managed to associate the retention of nonsense syllables with the threat of personal failure.
There was a control group of subjects who were not threatened. Some, however, were threatened or put under pressure – and they failed either to recall or relearn the syllables. From an eleven plus point of view the exciting point is that once the treat was removed – the recovery of memory occurred!
Is there a moral to this anecdote? Possibly. Threatening children, while they are trying to learn something, may not have much long term benefit.
“If I have told you once, I have told you twice. I am going to tell your father/mother that you are just not trying to learn.
If you do not remember this time I am going to ban you from your computer for a week!”