ERIC Number: EJ1073879
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 37
Does Testing Impair Relational Processing? Failed Attempts to Replicate the Negative Testing Effect
Rawson, Katherine A.; Wissman, Kathryn T.; Vaughn, Kalif E.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v41 n5 p1326-1336 Sep 2015
Recent research on testing effects (i.e., practice tests are more effective than restudy for enhancing subsequent memory) has focused on explaining when and why testing enhances memory. Of particular interest for present purposes, Zaromb and Roediger (2010) reported evidence that testing effects in part reflect enhanced relational processing, which refers to the encoding of similarity among to-be-learned items. The "multifactor account" of testing effects (Peterson & Mulligan, 2013) further distinguishes between processing of cue-target relations ("intraitem relational processing") and processing of relations shared by targets from different items ("interitem relational processing"). The intriguing claim of this account is that testing enhances intraitem relational processing at the expense of interitem relational processing. Confirming predictions of this account, Peterson and Mulligan (2013) found negative testing effects on final free recall and on a measure of interitem relational processing (the same measures on which Zaromb and Roediger found positive testing effects). The original intent of the current research was to resolve this theoretical debate by replicating and extending the findings of Peterson and Mulligan (2013) to identify the locus of the apparent inconsistency in the outcomes reported in these 2 studies. However, 5 high-powered experiments affording 8 comparisons of testing versus restudy did not replicate the negative testing effect on final memory performance nor on most measures of interitem relational processing. Thus, the weight of the evidence supports the conclusion that testing does not impair relational processing.
Descriptors: Testing, Cognitive Processes, Recall (Psychology), Replication (Evaluation), Memory, Undergraduate Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
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