Why Testing Improves Memory: Mediator Effectiveness Hypothesis

@article{Pyc2010WhyTI,
  title={Why Testing Improves Memory: Mediator Effectiveness Hypothesis},
  author={Mary A. Pyc and Katherine A. Rawson},
  journal={Science},
  year={2010},
  volume={330},
  pages={335 - 335}
}
Testing not only evaluates the state of memory, but also improves memory more than restudy. A wealth of research has established that practice tests improve memory for the tested material. Although the benefits of practice tests are well documented, the mechanisms underlying testing effects are not well understood. We propose the mediator effectiveness hypothesis, which states that more-effective mediators (that is, information linking cues to targets) are generated during practice involving… 
Why is test-restudy practice beneficial for memory? An evaluation of the mediator shift hypothesis.
  • M. Pyc, K. Rawson
  • Economics
    Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition
  • 2012
TLDR
The authors evaluated the mediator shift hypothesis, which states that test-restudy practice is beneficial for memory because retrieval failures during practice allow individuals to evaluate the effectiveness of mediators and to shift from less effective to more effective mediators.
Does the benefit of testing depend on lag, and if so, why? Evaluating the elaborative retrieval hypothesis
TLDR
Across two experiments, final-test performance was greater following practice testing than following restudy only, and this memorial advantage was greater with long-lag than with short-lag practice testing, which provided consistent evidence for the ERH.
The mediator effectiveness hypothesis revisited
TLDR
A continuously cumulating meta-analysis of outcomes from the original study and from stage 1 data reported by Camerer et al. yielded a pooled d of 0.43 (95% CI = 0.12–0.74), consistent with Braver and co-workers’ argument that a CCMA analysis on a replication attempt that does not reach significance might nonetheless provide more, not less, evidence that the effect is real.
The testing effect for mediator final test cues and related final test cues in online and laboratory experiments
TLDR
The variability in the testing effect for related cues in online experiments could point toward moderators of the related cue short-term testing effect.
Tests improve memory – no matter if you feel good or bad while taking them
TLDR
The present results suggest that testing seems to benefit long-term retention independently of the learner's affective state.
Does testing enhance new learning because it insulates against proactive interference?
Taking a test on previously learned material can enhance new learning. One explanation for this forward testing effect is that retrieval inoculates learners from proactive interference (PI). Although
Establishing and explaining the testing effect in free recall for young children.
TLDR
Results showed that the benefits of testing extend to elementary school children and that testing enhanced item-specific processing but not relational processing, and third graders were also aware of the memorial benefits ofTesting, whereas 1st grader were not.
The effect of testing versus restudy on retention: a meta-analytic review of the testing effect.
TLDR
Meta-analysis uses meta-analysis to examine the effects of testing versus restudy on retention and indicates support for the role of effortful processing as a contributor to the testing effect.
Do testing effects change over time? Insights from immediate and delayed retrieval speed
TLDR
Results are interpreted in light of recent suggestions that testing selectively strengthens cue–response associations and supports recent models that attribute changes in testing effects over time to limited item retrievability during practice.
Using tests to reduce mind-wandering during learning review
TLDR
The results suggest the mnemonic benefits associated with testing may stem not only from act of retrieval itself, but also from the fact that taking tests encourages a more efficient and engaged review of the material.
...
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 13 REFERENCES
The Power of Testing Memory: Basic Research and Implications for Educational Practice
TLDR
This article selectively review laboratory studies that reveal the power of testing in improving retention and then turns to studies that demonstrate the basic effects in educational settings, including the related concepts of dynamic testing and formative assessment.
The contribution of mediator-based deficiencies to age differences in associative learning.
TLDR
Evidence is presented concerning the degree to which 2 previously unexplored mediator-based deficits--retrieval and decoding deficiencies--account for age deficits in learning.
The Critical Importance of Retrieval for Learning
TLDR
The results demonstrate the critical role of retrieval practice in consolidating learning and show that even university students seem unaware of this fact.
Research supported by a Collaborative Award from the James S. McDonnell Foundation 21st Century Science Initiative in Bridging Brain
  • Research supported by a Collaborative Award from the James S. McDonnell Foundation 21st Century Science Initiative in Bridging Brain
J. Mem. Lang
  • J. Mem. Lang
  • 2005
Dev. Psychol
  • Dev. Psychol
  • 2005
Materials, methods, and keyword example are available as supporting material on Science Online
  • Materials, methods, and keyword example are available as supporting material on Science Online
Research supported by a Collaborative Award from the James S. McDonnell Foundation 21st Century Science Initiative in Bridging Brain, Mind and Behavior
    ...
    ...