Pre-testing as a facilitator of memory integration across representational formats Open Access

Cronin-Golomb, Lucy (Fall 2020)

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The context of learning is ever-fluctuating, thus processes associated with acquiring knowledge must be flexible and equipped to incorporate information from separate but related episodes and across a variety of representational formats. Prior research has tested memory integration across the same format (text-text). In the present work we expanded upon this line of research with integrable passage pairs that also featured supporting photographs thus requiring integration across formats. The stimuli were developed based on art-history museum exhibits to be reflective of informal, naturally occurring learning experiences. In Experiment 1, adults were exposed to text-only learning episodes or text + photograph learning episodes to test cross-format memory integration and subsequent self-derivation. In anticipation of the greater processing demands associated with cross-format integration, in Experiment 2 we investigated pre-testing as a way to maximize knowledge acquisition across formats. Participants were exposed to both text-only and text + photograph integrable passage pairs, half of which were pre-tested. Neither experiment revealed a difference between cross-format (text + photograph) and same- format (text-only) memory integration and subsequent self-derivation of knowledge. Pre-testing significantly improved task performance in the cross-format condition only (a striking 80% increase in performance as opposed to a 6% increase in performance in the same-format condition). Results provide novel insight into mechanisms underlying knowledge acquisition through memory integration in informal “in the wild” learning settings.


Table of Contents

Introduction                                                                                                  1-7

Experiment 1 Methods                                                                                 7-11

Experiment 1 Results                                                                                   11-13

Experiment 1 Discussion                                                                              13-14

Experiment 2 Methods                                                                                 14-16

Experiment 2 Results                                                                                   16-17

Experiment 2 Discussion                                                                              17

General Discussion                                                                                       18-22

References                                                                                                     23-26

Table 1                                                                                                          27

Figure 1                                                                                                         28

Figure 2                                                                                                         29

Figure 3                                                                                                         30

Appendix                                                                                                       31

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