Practice and Forgetting Effects on Vocabulary Memory: An Activation-Based Model of the Spacing Effect

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

An experiment was performed to investigate the effects of practice and spacing on retention of Japanese–English vocabulary paired associates. The relative benefit of spacing increased with increased practice and with longer retention intervals. Data were fitted with an activation-based memory model, which proposes that each time an item is practiced it receives an increment of strength but that these increments decay as a power function of time. The rate of decay for each presentation depended on the activation at the time of the presentation. This mechanism limits long-term benefits from further practice at higher levels of activation and produces the spacing effect and its observed interactions with practice and retention interval. The model was compared with another model of the spacing effect (Raaijmakers, 2003) and was fit to some results from the literature on spacing and memory.




Published In

Cognitive Science, 29, 4, 559-586.