Masters Thesis

Moderating the spacing effect with the method of encoding

A large body of research demonstrates significant enhancement of retention when encoding episodes are temporally spaced versus massed together. Researchers use either a ‘restudy’ or a ‘retrieval’ method of encoding during relearning trials, but the effect of difference in encoding is unknown. The current research tested whether these encoding methods affected the ‘spacing effect.’ The current study measured overall retention of 12 SAT word pairs in either a restudy or a retrieval method of encoding in both massed and spaced schedules of encoding. Current theory predicts that retrieval practice (testing) should enhance the effects of spacing when compared to restudying. Our research provides empirical support for this perspective and demonstrates that spaced-out learning trials using a retrieval method of encoding enhances the spacing effect. This study furthers the understanding of the mechanism responsible for the benefits of spacing.