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Psychol Aging. 2010 Jun;25(2):498-503. doi: 10.1037/a0017807.

Spacing as the friend of both memory and induction in young and older adults.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267, USA.


We compared the effects of spaced versus massed practice on young and older adults' ability to learn visually complex paintings. We expected a spacing advantage when 1 painting per artist was studied repeatedly and tested (repetition) but perhaps a massing advantage, especially for older adults, when multiple different paintings by each artist were studied and tested (induction). We were surprised to find that spacing facilitated both inductive and repetition learning by both young and older adults, even though the participants rated massing superior to spacing for inductive learning. Thus, challenging learners of any age appears to have unintuitive benefits for both memory and induction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).

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