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Poster D49

The influence of retrieval practice on real-world event memory

Poster Session D - Monday, April 15, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Lauren A. Homann1 (, Jessica Sun1, Janice An1, Morgan D. Barense1,2; 1University of Toronto, 2Rotman Research Institute

Actively recalling information from memory (retrieval practice) is widely recognized for its utility in enhancing long-term memory. This practice not only improves later recall for purposefully retrieved information (the testing effect) but also enhances retention of information that is sufficiently related to the explicitly retrieved information (retrieval-induced facilitation). Remarkably, retrieval practice exhibits superiority in bolstering memory when juxtaposed with restudying (i.e., passively reviewing) identical material, underscoring the critical role of active retrieval in these enhancement effects. Despite the acknowledged efficacy of retrieval practice, there has been little research devoted to investigating how this technique might alter memory for real-world events. To address this gap, we explored the comparative mnemonic impact of retrieving versus restudying verifiable details of a staged event—a sensory- and interaction-rich tour of a historic building. Preliminary results (N = 37) demonstrate a testing effect: participants who practiced retrieving event details had a higher likelihood of correctly recalling these details fourteen days after the event (with final recall conditionalized upon correct retrieval during at least one review session). These analyses reveal, for the first time, that testing effects prevail for personally experienced real-world events. Retrieval-induced facilitation effects, however, were not present: participants who practiced retrieving event details did not have a higher likelihood of correctly recalling event details that were related—albeit never retrieved. In the interest of examining the influence of retrieval practice on memory comprehensively, we will also present data on details extracted from free recall narratives, spontaneous temporal recall dynamics, and subjective memory phenomenology.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic


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April 13–16  |  2024