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Read about new research on memory recently published in Psychological Science.

A Short-Term Testing Effect in Cross-Language Recognition

Peter P. J. L. Verkoeijen, Samantha Bouwmeester, and Gino Camp

Researchers know that repeated testing leads to better long-term memory for information than does repeated study; however, they are still unsure of why this occurs. Researchers had Dutch-English bilingual participants learn several lists of words in Dutch. In some instances they were tested after an initial study period (test condition), and in others they were told to study the list again (restudy condition). Participants’ memory for the words was then tested in Dutch or English. Words in the restudy condition were remembered more poorly when participants were tested in English than when they were tested in Dutch; whereas words in the test condition were remembered similarly regardless of the language used. This indicates there are differences in the way restudying and testing strengthen memory.

A Power-Law Model of Psychological Memory Strength in Short- and Long-Term Recognition

Chris Donkin and Robert M. Nosofsky

The rate at which we forget information can be mathematically described by power functions. Traditionally the form of the functional relationship depends on the scale used by for the variable of interest. In this experiment, participants studied a list of 12 items and were tested on their memory for the items. The authors discovered that a version of the exemplar recognition model that assumes a lag-based power law was a better fit for both the participant’s responses and their response times than a variety of other models. The fact that the model was a good fit for both variables even though they were measured on different scales indicates that the model was independent of the variable scale used, suggesting a possible power law of memory strength.