Friday, November 2, 2007


Current Directions in Psychological Science

Volume 16 Issue 4 Page 183-186, August 2007

To cite this article: Doug Rohrer, Harold Pashler (2007)
Increasing Retention Without Increasing Study Time
Current Directions in Psychological Science 16 (4), 183–186.
Prev Article Next Article
Increasing Retention Without Increasing Study Time

* Doug Rohrer11University of South Florida and and
* Harold Pashler22University of California, San Diego

1University of South Florida and 2University of California, San Diego

Address correspondence to Doug Rohrer, Department of Psychology, PCD4118G, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620; e-mail:

ABSTRACT—Because people forget much of what they learn, students could benefit from learning strategies that yield long-lasting knowledge. Yet surprisingly little is known about how long-term retention is most efficiently achieved. Here we examine how retention is affected by two variables: the duration of a study session and the temporal distribution of study time across multiple sessions. Our results suggest that a single session devoted to the study of some material should continue long enough to ensure that mastery is achieved but that immediate further study of the same material is an inefficient use of time. Our data also show that the benefit of distributing a fixed amount of study time across two study sessions—the spacing effect—depends jointly on the interval between study sessions and the interval between study and test. We discuss the practical implications of both findings, especially in regard to mathematics learning.

No comments: