Spacing repetitions over long timescales

A review and a reconsolidation explanation
Smith, C.D.; Scarf, D.

Recent accounts of the spacing effect have proposed molecular explanations that explain spacing over short, but not long timescales. In the first half of this paper, the authors review research on the spacing effect that has employed spaces of 24 h or more across skill-related tasks, language-related tasks and generalization for adults and children. Throughout this review, they distinguish between learning and retention by defining learning (or acquisition) as performance at the end of training and retention as performance after a delay period. Using this distinction, they find age- and task-related differences in the manifestation of the spacing effect over long timescales. In the second half of this paper, they discuss a reconsolidation account of the spacing effect. In particular, they review the evidence that suggests the spacing of repetitions influences the subsequent consolidation and reconsolidation processes; they explain how a reconsolidation account may explain the findings for learning; the inverted-U curve for retention; and compare the reconsolidation account with previous consolidation accounts of the spacing effect.

Published in
Frontiers in Psychology
8 (art. 962)
Library number
20230088 ST [electronic version only]

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