Fact learning: how information accuracy, delay, and repeated testing change retention and retrieval experience

Memory. 2008 Nov;16(8):934-46. doi: 10.1080/09658210802360603.


Previous classroom studies have shown that the phenomenology of studied facts changes over time. However, pedagogical needs preclude both the study of errors and the separation of the effects that delay and repeated testing have on retention and retrieval experience. We addressed these issues together in an experiment where participants read stories containing correct and misleading information and provided Remember, Just Know, and Familiar judgements on immediate and delayed general knowledge tests. After 2 days, information learned from the stories shifted from Remembered to Just Known, but repeated testing attenuated this shift. Interestingly, similar patterns of retrieval and phenomenology were observed for correct and misleading information with one important difference--the shift over time to Just Knowing was significantly greater for correct than for misleading information. Together, these findings show the roles of information accuracy, delay, and testing in determining both retention and the subjective experience of retrieval.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Cues
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Practice, Psychological*
  • Psychological Tests
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Retention, Psychology / physiology*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult