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The testing effect and analogical problem-solving

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Researchers generally agree that retrieval practice of previously learned material facilitates subsequent recall of same material, a phenomenon known as the testing effect. There is debate, however, about when such benefits transfer to related (though not identical) material. The current study examines the phenomenon of transfer in the domain of analogical problem-solving. In Experiments 1 and 2, learners were presented a source text describing a problem and solution to read which was subsequently either restudied or recalled. Following a short (Experiment 1) or long (Experiment 2) delay, learners were given a new target text and asked to solve a problem. The two texts shared a common structure such that the provided solution for the source text could be applied to solve the problem in the target text. In a combined analysis of both experiments, learners in the retrieval practice condition were more successful at solving the problem than those in the restudy condition. Experiment 3 explored the degree to which retrieval practice promotes cued versus spontaneous transfer by manipulating whether participants were provided with an explicit hint that the source and target texts were related. Results revealed no effect of retrieval practice.
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Keywords: Testing effect; analogical reasoning; transfer

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA

Publication date: November 26, 2018

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