Journal article

Does Incorrect Guessing Impair Fact Learning?

Sean HK Kang, Harold Pashler, Nicholas J Cepeda, Doug Rohrer, Shana K Carpenter, Michael C Mozer

JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY | AMER PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOC | Published : 2011

Abstract

Taking a test has been shown to produce enhanced retention of the retrieved information. On tests, however, students often encounter questions the answers for which they are unsure. Should they guess anyway, even if they are likely to answer incorrectly? Or are errors engrained, impairing subsequent learning of the correct answer? We sought to answer this question in 3 experiments. In Experiments 1 and 2, subjects read 80 obscure facts (e.g., " Where is Disko Island? Greenland") and then took a cued recall test. When a subject reported being unable to answer a question, on a randomly chosen half of those questions the computer program insisted upon a guess. Corrective feedback was provided e..

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