Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Testing Improves Memory

16.06.2011
“We’ve known for over 100 years that testing is good for memory,” says Kent State University psychology graduate student Kalif Vaughn. Psychologists have proven in a myriad of experiments that “retrieval practice”—correctly producing a studied item—increases the likelihood that you’ll get it right the next time. “But we didn’t know why.”

In the past, many researchers have believed that testing is good for memory, but only for the exact thing you are trying to remember: so-called “target memory.” If you’re asked to recall the Lithuanian equivalent of an English word, say, you will get good at remembering the Lithuanian, but you won’t necessarily remember the English. Vaughn wondered whether practice testing might boost other types of memory too.

It does. This is the finding of a study he conducted with Kent State psychologist Katherine A. Rawson,which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Says Vaughn: “With retrieval practice, everything gets substantially better.”

That “everything” includes target memory; “cue memory,” for the stimulus (the Lithuanian) that evinces the target; and “associative memory,” of the relationship between things—in this case, the word pair.

... more about:
»Psychological Science

To pinpoint which of these components was improving the researchers conducted two slightly different experiments, one involving 131 undergraduates and the other, 69. In both preparation sessions, English-Lithuanian word pairs were displayed on a computer screen one by one, each for 10 seconds of study. After studying the list, the participants underwent retrieval trials: A Lithuanian word appeared and they had to type the English equivalent within eight seconds. If the answer was correct, the word went to the end of the list to be asked again. If wrong, the participant got to restudy it. Each item was pre-assigned a “criterion level” from one to five—the number of times it needed to be correctly recalled during practice. Once that level was reached, the word was dropped from practice.

Participants then returned—two days later in Experiment 1, seven in Experiment 2—and completed tests recruiting different types of memory. First, they performed one of four recall tests, plus trials including recognizing words they had or had not studied and picking out correct word pairings among incorrect ones. To eliminate the potentially enhancing effect of a prior recall test—and get a “pure” assessment of recognition of cues, targets, and associations—the second experiment eliminated the preceding recall tests.

The experiments yielded the same results: Items with higher “criterion levels”—which had been correctly retrieved more times during practice—exhibited better performance on tests of all three kinds of memory: cue, target, and associative.

Vaughn stresses that it isn’t just testing, but successful testing—getting the answer right—that makes the difference in memory performance later on. He also admits the study leaves much to be discovered. “We know that repeated retrieval is good for memory. Testing is a modifier of memory. But we still don’t know how that works. We don’t understand the mechanism.”

For more information about this study, please contact: Kalif Vaughn at kvaughn4@kent.edu.

The APS journal Psychological Science is the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology. For a copy of the article "Diagnosing criterion level effects on memory: What aspects of memory are enhanced by repeated retrieval?" and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Divya Menon at 202-293-9300 or dmenon@psychologicalscience.org.

Divya Menon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psychologicalscience.org

Further reports about: Psychological Science

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties

23.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light-driven reaction converts carbon dioxide into fuel

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Oil and gas wastewater spills alter microbes in West Virginia waters

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>