Purdue University Graduate School
Fordyce Master's Thesis FINAL.pdf (534.45 kB)

Examining the Effects of Retrieval Practice on Memory for Temporal-Contextual Information

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posted on 2023-07-03, 19:33 authored by Amanda Lynn FordyceAmanda Lynn Fordyce

 Numerous studies have shown retrieval practice to be an effective strategy for improving memory. One account proposed to explain this benefit is the episodic context account (Karpicke et al., 2014). This account proposes that contextual information is reinstated and updated when an item is retrieved. This updated context is then used to aid in retrieval. Examining memory for contextual information, in addition to item memory, may provide additional insight into retrieval practice and what contextual cues are relevant in retrieval. The current study examined memory for temporal-contextual information at 2 different grain sizes: (a) memory for which list a word occurred in, and (b) memory for when an item occurred within a list. Previous research has shown that retrieval practice enhances memory for list temporal contextual information, as assessed by a list discrimination task (Brewer et al., 2010; Chan & McDermott, 2007). In contrast, Karpicke and Zaromb (2010) found worse memory following retrieval practice (relative to restudy) for within-list temporal-contextual information, as assessed by an order reconstruction task. In both experiments of the current study, participants studied multiple lists of words and either engaged in a word stem completion cued recall task, or restudied the words. Our results were partially consistent with previous research. We found no difference in performance between the retrieval practice and restudy groups when assessed on a list discrimination test. However, performance was worse for the retrieval practice group relative to restudy when assessed on an order reconstruction task. Finally, in both experiments, there was no difference in recognition accuracy. Overall, our results suggest that certain retrieval practice tasks may differentially affect memory for various grain sizes of temporal-contextual information. 


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Psychological Sciences

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Thomas Redick

Additional Committee Member 2

Jeffrey Karpicke

Additional Committee Member 3

Darryl Schneider

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