Limitations to the Spacing Effect: Demonstration of an Inverted U-shaped Relationship Between Interrepetition Spacing and Free Recall
The spacing effect refers to the finding that memory for repeated items improves when the interrepetition interval increases. To explain the spacing effect in free-recall tasks, a two-factor model has been put forward that combines mechanisms of contextual variability and study-phase retrieval (e.g., Raaijmakers, 2003; Verkoeijen, Rikers, & Schmidt, 2004). An important, yet untested, implication of this model is that free recall of repetitions should follow an inverted u-shaped relationship with interrepetition spacing. To demonstrate the suggested relationship an experiment was conducted. Participants studied a word list, consisting of items repeated at different interrepetition intervals, either under incidental or under intentional learning instructions. Subsequently, participants received a free-recall test. The results revealed an inverted u-shaped relationship between free recall and interrepetition spacing in both the incidental-learning condition and the intentionallearning condition. Moreover, for intentionally learned repetitions, the maximum free-recall performance was located at a longer interrepetition interval than for incidentally learned repetitions. These findings are interpreted in terms of the twofactor model of spacing effects in free-recall tasks.
|Keywords||explicit memory, free recall, spacing effect|
|Persistent URL||dx.doi.org/10.1027/1618-3126.96.36.1994, hdl.handle.net/1765/9319|
Verkoeijen, P.P.J.L., & Schmidt, H.G.. (2005). Limitations to the Spacing Effect: Demonstration of an Inverted U-shaped Relationship Between Interrepetition Spacing and Free Recall. Experimental Psychology, 52(4), 264–271. doi:10.1027/1618-3188.8.131.524