Do testing effects change over time? Insights from immediate and delayed retrieval speed
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SourceMemory, 22, 7, (2014), pp. 803-812
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectLearning and Plasticity
Retrieving information from memory improves recall accuracy more than continued studying, but this testing effect often only becomes visible over time. In contrast, the present study documents testing effects on recall speed both immediately after practice and after a delay. A total of 40 participants learned the translation of 100 Swahili words and then further restudied the words with translations or retrieved the translations from memory during testing. As in previous experiments, recall accuracy was higher for restudied words than for tested words immediately after practice, but higher for tested words after 7 days. Response times for correct answers, however, showed a different result: Learners were faster to recall tested words than restudied words both immediately after practice and after 7 days. These results are interpreted in light of recent suggestions that testing selectively strengthens cue-response associations. An additional outcome was that testing effects on recall accuracy were related to perceived retrieval success during practice. When several practice retrievals were successful, testing effects on recall accuracy were already significant immediately after practice. Together with the reaction time data, this supports recent models that attribute changes in testing effects over time to limited item retrievability during practice.
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