Testing enhances memory and inference
A new study by the Human Memory and Cognition Lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has found that testing is better than rote restudy because it improves both memory and the ability to make inferences. The study "Long-term Inference and Memory Following Retrieval Practice" was published in Memory & Cognition.
"We do a lot of our learning outside the classroom. Because so much of our learning is self-regulated, we need to look into which learning strategies are most beneficial," said Jessica Siler, a graduate student in psychology at Illinois. "We found that being tested on the material led to better memory and better inference of new images."
The researchers conducted the study in three phases. During the training phase, participants were introduced to a set of bird pictures where they learned to which families the birds belonged. In the study phase, half the bird families were studied through testing and the other half through restudying.
After the study phase, participants were tested on the subject matter. In the testing phase, they were given bird pictures -- ones they had seen previously and some that they had not -- and were asked to categorize the birds into families. The researchers also compared the participants' memory and inference over a period of 25 days.
(Content Courtesy: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-02/bifa-tds021720.php)