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Going Beyond the Spacing Effect: Does it Matter How Time on a Task is Distributed?

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QJEP_Murphy, Bjork, & Bjork, 2022
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Going beyond the spacing effect: Does it matter how time on a task is distributed?


Dillon H. Murphy, Robert. A. Bjork, & Elizabeth L. Bjork




ABSTRACT

We assessed the effects of removing some constraints that characterize traditional experiments on the effects of spaced, rather than massed, study opportunities. In five experiments—using lists of to-be-remembered words—we examined the effects of how total study time was distributed across multiple repetitions of a given to-be-remembered word. Overall, within a given list, recall profited from study time being distributed (e.g., four 1-second presentations or two 2-second presentations versus one 4-second presentation). Among the implications of these findings is that if students choose to engage in massed studying (by virtue of constraints on their study time or a failure to appreciate the benefits of spaced study sessions), then studying the information twice but for half the time may produce memory benefits in a single study session.

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