Expanding Retrieval Promotes Long Term Retention by Preventing Rapid Rates of Forgetting

Abstract

Expanding retrieval, increasing the delay between retrieval attempts of recently studied material, should lead to better memory than equally spaced retrieval, however, recent results have been mixed. Ninety-six participants studied word pairs with the following expansion schedules: 1-2-3; 1-5-9; 3-5-8; 5-8-13. An evenly spaced (5-5-5) condition was also used. A final test was given after a 10 minute or 48 hour retention interval. Performance after the 48 hour retention interval was best in the 5-8-13 condition. The higher level of performance in this condition was due to no forgetting between the final learning trial and the immediate final test.


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