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Resistance of the Spacing Effect to Variations in Encoding

Charles P. Bird, Angus J. Nicholson and Susan Ringer
The American Journal of Psychology
Vol. 91, No. 4 (Dec., 1978), pp. 713-721
DOI: 10.2307/1421519
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1421519
Page Count: 9
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Resistance of the Spacing Effect to Variations in Encoding
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Abstract

Orienting tasks were employed in two experiments to examine the encoding variability explanation of the spacing effect. Subjects were presented word lists that included items that were repeated with either no items or five items intervening between presentations. In addition, the orienting task required was the same or different on the two presentations. According to the encoding-variability hypothesis, the orienting tasks should tend to override the usual effect of spacing of repetitions by encouraging or discouraging variable encoding. However, free recall of the lists revealed significantly better performance with spaced repetitions, independent of the orienting tasks, thus disconfirming the hypothesis.

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