Comparison versus reminding

Tullis, J. G. & Goldstone, R. L. (2016).Ā  Comparison versus reminding.Ā  Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 1, 1-20, DOI 10.1186/s41235-016-0028-1.

Comparison and reminding have both been shown to support learning and transfer. Comparison is thought toĀ support transfer because it allows learners to disregard non-matching features of superficially different episodes inĀ order to abstract the essential structure of concepts. Remindings promote memory for the individual episodes andĀ generalization because they prompt learners to retrieve earlier episodes during the encoding of later related episodes andĀ to compare across episodes. Across three experiments, we compared the consequences of comparison and remindingĀ on memory and transfer. Participants studied a sequence of related, but superficially different, proverb pairs. InĀ the comparison condition, participants saw proverb pairs presented together and compared their meaning. InĀ the reminding condition, participants viewed proverbs one at a time and retrieved any prior studied proverbĀ that shared the same deep meaning as the current proverb. Experiment 1 revealed that participants in the remindingĀ condition recalled more proverbs than those in the comparison condition. Experiment 2 showed that the mnemonicĀ benefits of reminding persisted over a one-week retention interval. Finally, in Experiment 3, we examined the ability ofĀ participants to generalize their remembered information to new items in a task that required participants to identifyĀ unstudied proverbs that shared the samemeaning as studied proverbs. Comparison led to worse discrimination betweenĀ proverbs related to studied proverbs and proverbs unrelated to studied proverbs than reminding. Reminding supportedĀ better memory for individual instances and transfer to new situations than comparison.

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