In the present study, we employed word pair stimuli as memory materials to explore whether initial unsuccessful memory retrieval can enhance subsequent recollection. In addition, we examined how this memory retrieval enhancing effect after unsuccess ...
In the present study, we employed word pair stimuli as memory materials to explore whether initial unsuccessful memory retrieval can enhance subsequent recollection. In addition, we examined how this memory retrieval enhancing effect after unsuccessful retrieval was affected by memory material’s qualitative (semantic relatedness) and quantitative attributes (difficulty of target words due to the number of syllables).
In experiment 1, we tested whether unsuccessful memory retrieval enhances later memory retrieval and how material’s attribute (semantic relatedness) affects the enhancing effect in immediate and delay periods. The results showed that learning through unsuccessful retrieval was more effective than both immediate and delayed recall learning. Especially, in the case of immediate recall, different learning groups showed similar recollection rates for word pairs with low semantic relatedness, while unsuccessful retrieval group showed higher recollection rates compare to passive reading group for word pairs with high semantic relatedness.
In experiment 2, we tested effects of qualitative (semantic relatedness) and quantitative (difficulty level) attributes on the memory enhancement effect of unsuccessful retrieval. We employed memory materials of high/low relatedness and high/low difficulty levels, and compared immediate and delayed recollection rates of different learning groups. The results showed that high difficulty group had greater recollection rates than low difficulty group regardless of relatedness levels. Moreover, low relatedness group had greater recollection rates than high relatedness group regardless of difficulty levels. In the case of the delayed recall, recollection rates due to difficulty levels had more critical effect on the high relatedness group than the low relatedness group. Lastly in experiment 3, we controlled for the relatedness and only applied the difficulty levels to explore the unsuccessful retrieval learning enhancement effect. To test this, we created both low (2 syllables) and high (3 syllables) difficulty nonsense syllables and compared three learning groups’ (passive reading, cue presentation, unsuccessful retrieval) recollection rates. Regardless of the learning groups, the low difficulty condition showed greater recollection rates and the memory enhancement effect of unsuccessful retrieval was not found.
In experiment 4, the accuracy of the cue-presented group was higher than those of the read-only group and the unsuccessful retrieval group, regardless of the type of the final memory test, and the accuracy of the recognition were higher than that of the recall method, regardless of the type of study. However, the interaction of the type of study and the type of final memory test was not found.
The findings of experiment 1 and 2 suggests that even unsuccessful retrieval can enhance subsequent recollection and the semantic relatedness of word pairs has a crucial effect on the memory enhancement effect. Also, the results of experiment 3 indicates that the difficulty level of memory materials has a minimal effect on the memory enhancement effect of unsuccessful retrieval and learning non-meaningful words through unsuccessful retrieval process has negative effect on the subsequent recollection.
Finally, the result of experiment 4 indicate that learning using a recognition test - especially the condition of an unsuccessful retrieval - may not be effective in remembering target information regardless of the type of final memory test. Therefore, this means that the test effect of unsuccessful retrieval(the effect of retrieval attempts) may vary depending on the type of retrieval(recognition and recall as the method of learning).