One exceptional characteristic of the testing effect is its generalizability over time and circumstance. The benefits of testing over rote restudy appear to grow with time, as forgetting occurs, and also have been documented to extend to tasks of inference on previously unstudied stimuli. In the two experiments reported here, we evaluated inference and memory for members of natural categories over time. Rote memory and generalization were tested shortly after the study phase and again after varying delays. Results from both experiments indicate that retrieval practice does indeed enhance inference for novel members of previously learned categories, and that the benefits are maintained over the duration of our experiments—up to 25 days. An analysis of forgetting rates indicates that retrieval practice does not, however, decelerate forgetting when compared with restudy. Rates of forgetting were not discernibly different, for either rote memory or conceptual knowledge, between the two conditions. These results indicate that although testing does not appear to reduce forgetting, it is a potent means of enhancing inference, and the benefits to memory and inference are long lasting.
- Testing effect
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)