Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Are Judgments of Learning Made after Correct Responses during Retrieval Practice Sensitive to Lag and Criterion Level Effects?

Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Are Judgments of Learning Made after Correct Responses during Retrieval Practice Sensitive to Lag and Criterion Level Effects?

Article excerpt

Published online: 8 March 2012

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2012

Abstract Although successful retrieval practice is beneficial for memory, various factors (e.g., lag and criterion level) moderate this benefit. Accordingly, the efficacy of retrieval practice depends on how students use retrieval practice during learning, which in turn depends on accurate metacognitive monitoring. The present experiments evaluated the extent to which judgments of learning (JOLs) made after correct responses are sensitive to factors (i.e., lag and criterion level) that moderate retrieval practice effects, as well as which cues influence JOLs under these conditions. Participants completed retrieval practice for word pairs with either short or long lags between practice trials until items were correctly recalled 1, 3, 6, or 9 times. After the criterion trial for an item, participants judged the likelihood of recalling that item on the final test 1 week later. JOLs showed correct directional sensitivity to criterion level, with both final test performance and JOLs increasing as criterion level increased. However, JOLs showed incorrect directional sensitivity to lag, with greater performance but lower JOLs for longer versus shorter lags. Additionally, results indicated that retrieval fluency and metacognitive beliefs about criterion level-but not lag-influenced JOLs.

Keywords Metamemory. Memory . Recall

A wealth of research has shown that practice involving retrieval of target information from memory (i.e., retrieval practice) is beneficial for subsequent retention (for reviews, see Rawson & Dunlosky, 2011; Roediger & Butler, 2011). Of course, the effectiveness of retrieval practice depends on a number of factors. For example, although failed retrieval attempts may show modest memorial benefits (e.g., Kornell, Hays, & Bjork, 2009), retrieval practice is particularly efficacious when retrieval attempts during encoding are successful (e.g., Karpicke & Roediger, 2007; Pyc & Rawson, 2007, 2011). Furthermore, the memorial benefits of successful retrievals depend critically on the quantity and timing of those successful retrievals (Pyc & Rawson, 2009).

Although retrieval practice has been shown to yield large improvements in memory under appropriate experimentally devised conditions, in many learning situations (e.g., a student studying for an exam), the scheduling of retrieval practice is largely in the hands of the learner. Thus, the efficacy of retrieval practice for enhancing learning can only be as good as individuals' self-regulated use of retrieval practice. Therefore, it is important to understand the extent to which individuals' judgments of learning are sensitive to factors that influence the efficacy of retrieval practice. Accordingly, the present research examined the extent to which individuals' judgments are sensitive to the quantity and timing of successful retrievals during practice.

Below, we provide a brief review of the particular retrieval practice effects that are relevant for the present experiments. We then describe components of selfregulated learning, with particular emphasis on metacognitive monitoring, the component of greatest interest here. Finally, we report two experiments evaluating the sensitivity of judgments of learning to factors that influence the efficacy of successful retrieval practice.

Efficacy of retrieval practice

Many studies have established that retrieval practice is beneficial for memory. Retrieving information from memory during practice promotes memory to a greater extent than do other strategies, such as restudying (e.g., Cull, 2000; Karpicke & Roediger, 2007, 2008). Important for present purposes, previous research has shown that the quantity and timing of practice influences the memorial benefits of retrieval practice.

Concerning the quantity of practice, research has shown greater memorial benefits when individuals engage in more versus less retrieval during practice (e. …

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