Why is free recall practice more effective than recognition practice for enhancing memory? Evaluating the relational processing hypothesis


Journal Article

© 2019 Elsevier Inc. Why are testing effects on memory stronger when practice tests involve free recall versus recognition? Three experiments tested the hypothesis that relational processing is evoked to a greater extent during free recall practice than during recognition practice. Students studied a list of words from taxonomic categories and then either restudied the word list several times or alternated between practice testing (either free recall or recognition) and restudy. Two days later, all groups completed final free recall and recognition tests. Replicating prior research, final free recall was greater after free recall practice versus recognition practice. Importantly, performance on measures of relational processing (clustering and category access) was greater following free recall practice versus recognition practice. The practice testing groups also showed unexpected but theoretically interesting differences in item-specific processing. The current work sheds light on why practice test format moderates testing effects; we discuss implications for existing theories of testing effects.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Rawson, KA; Zamary, A

Published Date

  • April 1, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 105 /

Start / End Page

  • 141 - 152

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0749-596X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jml.2019.01.002

Citation Source

  • Scopus