The Influence of Retrieval Practice Versus Delayed Judgments of Learning on Memory: Resolving a Memory-Metamemory Paradox

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Abstract

The positive effect of delayed retrieval practice on subsequent test performance is robust; by contrast, making delayed judgments of learning (JOLs) encourages covert retrieval but has a minor influence on final test performance. In three experiments, we experimentally established and explored this memory-metamemory paradox. After initial study of paired associates (e.g., husky – ram), participants either were explicitly tested (husky – ?) or made a JOL. In Experiment 1, we adopted the standard JOL method, using a short retention interval, whereas in Experiments 2 and 3, we used a common testing-effect method involving a longer retention interval. Delayed JOLs did not boost test performance, but explicit delayed tests boosted memory after a longer retention interval. As important, participants spent less time to make JOLs than to retrieve responses. These data indicate that differences in the dynamics of retrieval for practice tests versus delayed JOLs are responsible for the paradox.

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