Impoverished cue support enhances subsequent retention: support for the elaborative retrieval explanation of the testing effect

Mem Cognit. 2006 Mar;34(2):268-76. doi: 10.3758/bf03193405.


In three experiments, we investigated the role of transfer-appropriate processing and elaborative processing in the testing effect In Experiment 1, we examined whether the magnitude of the testing effect reflects the match between intervening and final tests by factorially manipulating the type of intervening and final tests. Retention was not enhanced for matching, relative to mismatching, intervening and final tests, contrary to the transfer-appropriate-processing view. In Experiment 2, we examined final retention as a function of the number of cues needed to retrieve items on intervening cued recall tests. In this case, fewer retrieval cues were associated with better memory on the final test. Experiment 3 replicated the findings of Experiment 2 while controlling for individual item difficulty and directly manipulating the number of cues present. These findings suggest that an intervening test may be most beneficial to final retention when it provides more potential for elaborative processing

MeSH terms

  • Attention*
  • Cues*
  • Humans
  • Mental Recall*
  • Phonetics
  • Practice, Psychological*
  • Reading*
  • Retention, Psychology*
  • Semantics
  • Transfer, Psychology
  • Verbal Learning*