Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Experimental Psychology

Committee Chair

Philip I. Pavlik

Committee Member

Jason Braasch

Committee Member

Leigh M. Harrell-Williams

Committee Member

Andrew Olney


The testing effect, or benefit of practicing the retrieval of information, has been shown to be effective in enhancing retention and transfer of information. As research on the testing effect transitions from a traditional cognitive psychology laboratory design to educational and classroom applications, additional questions about the optimal scheduling need to be investigated. The current study compared the influence of ordering and spacing of different types of questions during retrieval practice with a 2 (ordering: definition to example or example to definition) x 2 (spacing: item types paired or item types blocked) between-subjects design. This resulted in four retrieval practice conditions: Paired D-E, Paired E-D, Blocked D-E, and Blocked E-D. Each scheduling condition was supported by different lines of research including multiple representations, comparison/analogies, cognitive complexity, and concreteness fading. Definition and example questions were created to practice 16 introductory research methods concepts. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the four practice conditions and returned after 48 hours to complete a transfer posttest. Results indicated that pairing item types during practice increased the likelihood of integration of the multiple representations (i.e., item types). Grouping practice by the item types (i.e., the Blocked conditions) showed some detriment to transfer performance, especially when definitions were practiced first. Practicing definitions before examples showed negative effects in the participants' ability to answer novel example items.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

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