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ERIC Number: EJ860050
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 24
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Metacognitive Control over the Distribution of Practice: When Is Spacing Preferred?
Toppino, Thomas C.; Cohen, Michael S.; Davis, Meghan L.; Moors, Amy C.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v35 n5 p1352-1358 Sep 2009
The authors clarify the source of a conflict between previous findings related to metacognitive control over the distribution of practice. In a study by L. Son (2004), learners were initially presented pairs of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) vocabulary words and their common synonyms for 1 s, after which they chose to study the pair again immediately (massed practice), later (spaced practice), or not at all (done). Learners chose spaced practice less as pair difficulty increased. A. S. Benjamin and R. D. Bird (2006), using different materials and procedures and a longer presentation duration (5 s), concluded just the opposite. The authors adopted Son's materials and procedures and replicated her findings with a 1-s stimulus duration. However, the declining choice of spacing as item difficulty increased largely reflected learners' failure to fully perceive items with brief presentations. With longer presentations, ensuring full perception, the choice of spaced practice increased with greater pair difficulty, in agreement with Benjamin and Bird. Theoretical implications are discussed in the context of discrepancy-reduction and proximal-learning perspectives. (Contains 4 figures and 2 footnotes.)
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:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Graduate Record Examinations