Receiving right/wrong feedback: consequences for learning

Memory. 2010 Apr;18(3):335-50. doi: 10.1080/09658211003652491.


Prior work suggests that receiving feedback that one's response was correct or incorrect (right/wrong feedback) does not help learners, as compared to not receiving any feedback at all (Pashler, Cepeda, Wixted, & Rohrer, 2005). In three experiments we examined the generality of this conclusion. Right/wrong feedback did not aid error correction, regardless of whether participants learned facts embedded in prose (Experiment 1) or translations of foreign vocabulary (Experiment 2). While right/wrong feedback did not improve the overall retention of correct answers (Experiments 1 and 2), it facilitated retention of low-confidence correct answers (Experiment 3). Reviewing the original materials was very useful to learners, but this benefit was similar after receiving either right/wrong feedback or no feedback (Experiments 1 and 2). Overall, right/wrong feedback conveys some information to the learner, but is not nearly as useful as being told the correct answer or having the chance to review the to-be-learned materials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Feedback, Psychological*
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Learning*
  • Memory
  • Psychological Tests
  • Reading
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Time Factors
  • Vocabulary