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ERIC Number: EJ847069
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 47
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Unsuccessful Retrieval Attempts Enhance Subsequent Learning
Kornell, Nate; Hays, Matthew Jensen; Bjork, Robert A.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v35 n4 p989-998 2009
Taking tests enhances learning. But what happens when one cannot answer a test question--does an unsuccessful retrieval attempt impede future learning or enhance it? The authors examined this question using materials that ensured that retrieval attempts would be unsuccessful. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants were asked fictional general-knowledge questions (e.g., "What peace treaty ended the Calumet War?"). In Experiments 3-6, participants were shown a cue word (e.g., "whale") and were asked to guess a weak associate (e.g., "mammal"); the rare trials on which participants guessed the correct response were excluded from the analyses. In the test condition, participants attempted to answer the question before being shown the answer; in the "read-only" condition, the question and answer were presented together. Unsuccessful retrieval attempts enhanced learning with both types of materials. These results demonstrate that retrieval attempts enhance future learning; they also suggest that taking challenging tests--instead of avoiding errors--may be one key to effective learning. (Contains 4 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail: order@apa.org; Web site: http://www.apa.org/publications
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California