In 2 experiments, we investigated the effect of presentation rate on both immediate (5 min) and delayed (2 days) cued recall of paired associates. Word pairs were presented for a total of 16 s per pair, with presentation duration of individual presentations varying from 1 to 16 s. In Experiment 1, participants studied word pairs with presentation rates of 16 × 1 s, 8 × 2 s, 4 × 4 s, 2 × 8 s, or 1 × 16 s. A nonmonotonic relationship was found between presentation rate and cued recall performance. Both short (e.g., 1 s) and long (e.g., 16 s) presentation durations resulted in poor immediate and delayed recall, compared with intermediate presentation durations. In Experiment 2, we replicated these general findings. Moreover, we showed that the 4 s condition resulted in less proportional forgetting than the 1 s and the 16 s conditions.

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Keywords Cued recall, Forgetting, Paired-associate learning, Presentation rate, Study time distribution
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Journal Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
de Jonge, M, Tabbers, H.K, Pecher, D, & Zeelenberg, R. (2012). The effect of study time distribution on learning and retention: A Goldilocks principle for presentation rate. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 38(2), 405–412. doi:10.1037/a0025897