Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Alice F. Healy

Second Advisor

Matt C. Jones

Third Advisor

Tim Curran

Abstract

Engaging in self-testing is often a more effective strategy for retaining information than is restudying the target material. This testing benefit has been found in numerous studies and across a wide variety of manipulations and materials. Despite these common results, students remain largely unaware of the benefits of self-testing. We conducted three experiments using ecologically valid materials (statistics concepts and chemical elements) to determine whether student subjects could be made aware of the benefits of self-testing and consequently engage in voluntary self-testing. A within-subject testing benefit was successfully replicated in two experiments. However, little support was found for the hypothesis that subjects could be brought to exhibit voluntary, covert self-testing behavior. These results present a challenge to the field regarding effective means of eliciting appreciation and self-regulated use of the testing effect among students and thereby improve learning outcomes.

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