Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Experimental Psychology

Committee Chair

Phil Pavlik Jr.

Committee Member

Jason Braasch

Committee Member

James Murphy

Committee Member

Rodney Vogl


The current study aimed to investigate the role prior knowledge plays in the spacing effect by attempting to replicate the results of two previous studies. Eighty-five participants were divided into two different conditions and practiced diagnosing 36 case studies of six psychological disorders. The only difference between the conditions was whether the participant recieved the real labels of the disorders (i.e., depression, anxiety, bipolar) or novel labels of the disorders (i.e., wos, baj, pliq). Individual differences in learning strategies were also assessed to examine if there was any relationship between achievement goals, intelligence theories and confidence and the spacing effect. Based on the previous studies, it was hypothesized that there would be an interaction between the spacing effect and label type such that novel labels would produce a stronger spacing effect than known labels. There were no significant differences found for the spacing effect in either the real label or novel label condition leaving the role of prior knowledge plays in the spacing effect unconfirmed. The results of the current study necessitate a discussion about the boundaries to the spacing effect and how the most effective use of spaced study can be applied to the classroom.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.