The role of reminding in the effects of spaced repetitions on cued recall: Sufficient but not necessary.
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Three experiments examined the role of study-phase retrieval (reminding) in the effects of spaced repetitions on cued recall. Remindings were brought under task control to evaluate their effects. Participants studied 2 lists of word pairs containing 3 item types: single items that appeared once in List 2, within-list repetitions that appeared twice in List 2, and between-list repetitions that appeared once in List 1 and once in List 2. Our primary interest was in performance on between-list repetitions. Detection of between-list repetitions was encouraged in an n-back condition by instructing participants to indicate when a presented item was a repetition of any preceding item, including items presented in List 1. In contrast, detection of between-list repetitions was discouraged in a within-list back condition by instructing participants only to indicate repetitions occurring in List 2. Cued recall of between-list repetitions was enhanced when instructions encouraged detection of List 1 presentations. These results accord with those from prior experiments showing a role of study-phase retrieval in effects of spacing repetitions. Past experiments have relied on conditionalized data to draw conclusions, producing the possibility that performance benefits merely reflected effects of item selection. By bringing effects under task control, we avoided that problem. Our results provide evidence that reminding resulting from retrieval of earlier presentations plays a role in the effects of spaced repetitions on cued recall. However, our results also reveal that such retrievals are not necessary to produce an effect of spacing repetitions.
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