Maintenance of knowledge: Questions about memory we forgot to ask

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Abstract

Used 2 methods--successive relearning and cross-sectional adjustment--to examine processes involved in the maintenance of knowledge. Successive relearning is illustrated in a laboratory study with 90 undergraduates; English-Spanish word pairs were periodically relearned, and the intersession interval was varied from a few seconds to 30 days. It was found that indefinite access to the acquired information remained highly probable if the retraining interval did not exceed the access interval. Cross-sectional adjustment is a nonlaboratory method designed to investigate the acquisition and maintenance of complex knowledge systems under ecologically realistic conditions. The method is illustrated in a study with 275 university students and 576 alumni in which maintenance of knowledge of a city was found to be related to the frequency, recency, duration, and distribution of visits during a 46-yr retention interval. Statistical and interpretive procedures for each method are detailed. (9 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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