The role of retrieval during study: Evidence of reminding from self-paced study time

  • Geoffrey L. McKinleyEmail author
  • Brian H. Ross
  • Aaron S. Benjamin


The reminding effect (Tullis, Benjamin, & Ross, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143[4], 1526–1540, 2014) describes the increase in recall of a studied word when a related word is presented later in the study list. However, because the process of reminding is thought to occur during study, measures of test performance are indirect indicators of the process of reminding and are subject to influences that arise during testing. The present research seeks evidence of reminding during encoding. In two experiments, self-paced study times were used to index the online process of reminding. In Experiment 1, pairs of repeated words, related words, and unrelated words were included in a study list. Study times were shorter for words related to prior words in the list, but only when the lag between those two words was short. Relatedness affected study time by inspiring a reduction in the threshold for termination of study for related words under massed conditions. Experiment 2 replicated the reduction in study time for related words and further showed that the study time allotted to an associate of an earlier item predicted better memory for that earlier word on a cued-recall test. In this experiment, an advantage in memory was observed for related words, and self-paced study time of one word during encoding was predictive of later memory for a related word. These results suggest a link between the action of reminding at study, as indexed by changes in the distribution of study time, and later benefits to remembering, as revealed by the reminding effect.


Reminding Self-paced study Study time 



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© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA
  2. 2.School of PsychologyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Minerva Schools at KGISan FranciscoUSA

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