Testing potentiates new learning:The Role of Lag

Published: 20 March 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/msms96t22c.1
Minghui Liu,


Interim testing during continuous learning can promote the memory of new learning, but the effects of lag (the time between the presentation of original and new learning) between successive learning episodes remain unknown. In two experiments, we investigated the effects of introducing different lags (1min and 6min) during multi-list learning on the acquisition of new learning. Participants studied four lists of weak cue word pairs and engaged in interim testing or restudy after studying 1-3 lists separately. Memory performance on List 4 represented the effects of different learning strategies and lags on new learning. Experiment 1 conducted the final test after a retention interval of 5 minutes, while Experiment 2 extended the retention interval for the final test to 48 hours. Results showed that introducing a 6-min lag between learning each list significantly improved memory performance compared to a 1-min lag, and this effect persisted even after a retention interval of 48 hours. This indicates that combining interim testing with lags can collectively enhance the learning of new learning and the retention of it in long-term memory. The decrease in cognitive interference caused by lag is the underlying mechanism behind this phenomenon.



Cognitive Psychology