What makes distributed practice effective?

A. S. Benjamin, J. Tullis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

125 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The advantages provided to memory by the distribution of multiple practice or study opportunities are among the most powerful effects in memory research. In this paper, we critically review the class of theories that presume contextual or encoding variability as the sole basis for the advantages of distributed practice, and recommend an alternative approach based on the idea that some study events remind learners of other study events. Encoding variability theory encounters serious challenges in two important phenomena that we review here: superadditivity and nonmonotonicity. The bottleneck in such theories lies in the assumption that mnemonic benefits arise from the increasing independence, rather than interdependence, of study opportunities. The reminding model accounts for many basic results in the literature on distributed practice, readily handles data that are problematic for encoding variability theories, including superadditivity and nonmonotonicity, and provides a unified theoretical framework for understanding the effects of repetition and the effects of associative relationships on memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-247
Number of pages20
JournalCognitive Psychology
Volume61
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Data storage equipment
event
interdependence
Practice (Psychology)
Research
literature

Keywords

  • Encoding variability
  • Explicit memory
  • Lag effects
  • Reminding
  • Spacing effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence

Cite this

What makes distributed practice effective? / Benjamin, A. S.; Tullis, J.

In: Cognitive Psychology, Vol. 61, No. 3, 01.11.2010, p. 228-247.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Benjamin, A. S. ; Tullis, J. / What makes distributed practice effective?. In: Cognitive Psychology. 2010 ; Vol. 61, No. 3. pp. 228-247.
@article{1b4e9f4fdb5f44a7b10132df9c460c11,
title = "What makes distributed practice effective?",
abstract = "The advantages provided to memory by the distribution of multiple practice or study opportunities are among the most powerful effects in memory research. In this paper, we critically review the class of theories that presume contextual or encoding variability as the sole basis for the advantages of distributed practice, and recommend an alternative approach based on the idea that some study events remind learners of other study events. Encoding variability theory encounters serious challenges in two important phenomena that we review here: superadditivity and nonmonotonicity. The bottleneck in such theories lies in the assumption that mnemonic benefits arise from the increasing independence, rather than interdependence, of study opportunities. The reminding model accounts for many basic results in the literature on distributed practice, readily handles data that are problematic for encoding variability theories, including superadditivity and nonmonotonicity, and provides a unified theoretical framework for understanding the effects of repetition and the effects of associative relationships on memory.",
keywords = "Encoding variability, Explicit memory, Lag effects, Reminding, Spacing effects",
author = "Benjamin, {A. S.} and J. Tullis",
year = "2010",
month = "11",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.cogpsych.2010.05.004",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "61",
pages = "228--247",
journal = "Cognitive Psychology",
issn = "0010-0285",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - What makes distributed practice effective?

AU - Benjamin, A. S.

AU - Tullis, J.

PY - 2010/11/1

Y1 - 2010/11/1

N2 - The advantages provided to memory by the distribution of multiple practice or study opportunities are among the most powerful effects in memory research. In this paper, we critically review the class of theories that presume contextual or encoding variability as the sole basis for the advantages of distributed practice, and recommend an alternative approach based on the idea that some study events remind learners of other study events. Encoding variability theory encounters serious challenges in two important phenomena that we review here: superadditivity and nonmonotonicity. The bottleneck in such theories lies in the assumption that mnemonic benefits arise from the increasing independence, rather than interdependence, of study opportunities. The reminding model accounts for many basic results in the literature on distributed practice, readily handles data that are problematic for encoding variability theories, including superadditivity and nonmonotonicity, and provides a unified theoretical framework for understanding the effects of repetition and the effects of associative relationships on memory.

AB - The advantages provided to memory by the distribution of multiple practice or study opportunities are among the most powerful effects in memory research. In this paper, we critically review the class of theories that presume contextual or encoding variability as the sole basis for the advantages of distributed practice, and recommend an alternative approach based on the idea that some study events remind learners of other study events. Encoding variability theory encounters serious challenges in two important phenomena that we review here: superadditivity and nonmonotonicity. The bottleneck in such theories lies in the assumption that mnemonic benefits arise from the increasing independence, rather than interdependence, of study opportunities. The reminding model accounts for many basic results in the literature on distributed practice, readily handles data that are problematic for encoding variability theories, including superadditivity and nonmonotonicity, and provides a unified theoretical framework for understanding the effects of repetition and the effects of associative relationships on memory.

KW - Encoding variability

KW - Explicit memory

KW - Lag effects

KW - Reminding

KW - Spacing effects

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77956064128&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=77956064128&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.cogpsych.2010.05.004

DO - 10.1016/j.cogpsych.2010.05.004

M3 - Article

C2 - 20580350

AN - SCOPUS:77956064128

VL - 61

SP - 228

EP - 247

JO - Cognitive Psychology

JF - Cognitive Psychology

SN - 0010-0285

IS - 3

ER -