Background: The testing effect is the finding that information that is retrieved during learning is more often correctly retrieved on a final test than information that is restudied. According to the semantic mediator hypothesis the testing effect arises because retrieval practice of cue-target pairs (mother-child) activates semantically related mediators (father) more than restudying. Hence, the mediator-target (father-child) association should be stronger for retrieved than restudied pairs. Indeed, Carpenter (2011) found a larger testing effect when participants received mediators (father) than when they received target-related words (birth) as final test cues.
Methods: The present study started as an attempt to test an alternative account of Carpenter's results. However, it turned into a series of conceptual (Experiment 1) and direct (Experiment 2 and 3) replications conducted with online samples. The results of these online replications were compared with those of similar existing laboratory experiments through small-scale meta-analyses.
Results: The results showed that (1) the magnitude of the raw mediator testing effect advantage is comparable for online and laboratory experiments, (2) in both online and laboratory experiments the magnitude of the raw mediator testing effect advantage is smaller than in Carpenter's original experiment, and (3) the testing effect for related cues varies considerably between online experiments.
Conclusions: The variability in the testing effect for related cues in online experiments could point toward moderators of the related cue short-term testing effect. The raw mediator testing effect advantage is smaller than in Carpenter's original experiment.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Elaborative retrieval, Mechanical Turk, Replication, Semantic mediator hypothesis, Testing effect
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40359-016-0127-2, hdl.handle.net/1765/95318
Journal BMC Psychology
Citation
Coppens, L.C, Verkoeijen, P.P.J.L, Bouwmeester, S, & Rikers, R.M.J.P. (2016). The testing effect for mediator final test cues and related final test cues in online and laboratory experiments. BMC Psychology, 4(1). doi:10.1186/s40359-016-0127-2