The Forward Testing Effect on Self-Regulated Study Time Allocation and Metamemory Monitoring

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The forward testing effect describes the finding that testing of previously studied information potentiates learning and retention of new information. Here we asked whether interim testing boosts self-regulated study time allocation when learning new information and explored its effect on metamemory monitoring. Participants had unlimited time to study five lists of Euskara–English word pairs (Experiment 1) or four lists of face–name pairs (Experiment 2). In a no interim test group, which was only tested on the final list, study time decreased across successive lists. In contrast, in an interim test group, which completed a recall test after each list, no such decrease was observed. Experiments 3 and 4 were designed to investigate the forward testing effect on metamemory monitoring and found that this effect is associated with metacognitive insight. Overall, the current study reveals that interim tests prevent the reduction of study time across lists and that people’s metamemory monitoring is sensitive to the forward benefit of interim testing. Moreover, across all 4 experiments, the interim test group was less affected by proactive interference in the final list interim test than the no interim test group. The results suggest that variations in both encoding and retrieval processes contribute to the forward benefit of interim testing.

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