Spacing effect

Psychological effect that people learn more by spreading studying out in time / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The spacing effect demonstrates that learning is more effective when study sessions are spaced out. This effect shows that more information is encoded into long-term memory by spaced study sessions, also known as spaced repetition or spaced presentation, than by massed presentation ("cramming").

The phenomenon was first identified by Hermann Ebbinghaus, and his detailed study of it was published in the 1885 book Über das Gedächtnis. Untersuchungen zur experimentellen Psychologie (Memory: A Contribution to Experimental Psychology), which suggests that active recall with increasing time intervals reduces the probability of forgetting information. This robust finding has been supported by studies of many explicit memory tasks such as free recall, recognition, cued-recall, and frequency estimation (for reviews see Crowder 1976; Greene, 1989).

Researchers have offered several possible explanations of the spacing effect, and much research has been conducted that supports its impact on recall. In spite of these findings, the robustness of this phenomenon and its resistance to experimental manipulation have made empirical testing of its parameters difficult.