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Hypermnesia and the Role of Delay between Study and Test

Authors
  • Wallner, Lisa A.1
  • Bäuml, Karl-Heinz T.1
  • 1 Regensburg University, Department of Experimental Psychology, Regensburg, 93053, Germany , Regensburg (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Memory & Cognition
Publisher
Springer - Psychonomic Society
Publication Date
Apr 25, 2018
Volume
46
Issue
6
Pages
878–894
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3758/s13421-018-0809-5
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

Hypermnesia is increased recall across repeated tests in the absence of any further study opportunities. Although over the years many factors have been identified that influence hypermnesia, to date not much is known about the role of delay between study and test for the effect. This study addressed the issue in four experiments. Employing both words and pictures as study material, we compared hypermnesia after shorter delay (3 min or 11.5 min) and longer delay (24 h or 1 week) between study and test. Recall occurred over three successive tests, using both free recall (Experiments 1, 2, and 4) and forced recall testing (Experiment 3). In forced recall tests, subjects are instructed to recall as many items as possible, but if unable to remember all studied items, to fill in the remaining spaces with their best guesses. With free recall testing, hypermnesia increased with delay and the effect was driven mainly by reduced item losses between tests. These results suggest a link between hypermnesia and the testing effect, which shows that demanding retrieval practice, as it happens after longer delay, can improve recall by reducing the forgetting of the practiced items. In contrast, with forced recall testing, hypermnesia decreased with delay and was even absent after longer delay. The findings indicate that recall format can influence hypermnesia and different mechanisms may mediate the effects of repeated testing in the two recall conditions.

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