Peter F. Delaney
Other affiliations: Florida State University, University of Florida, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Bio: Peter F. Delaney is an academic researcher from University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The author has contributed to research in topics: Forgetting & Motivated forgetting. The author has an hindex of 19, co-authored 35 publications receiving 1683 citations. Previous affiliations of Peter F. Delaney include Florida State University & University of Florida.
TL;DR: This paper proposed a tentative verbal theory based on the SAM/REM model that utilizes contextual variability and study-phase retrieval to explain the major findings, as well as predict some novel results.
Abstract: What appears to be a simple pattern of results—distributed-study opportunities usually produce better memory than massed-study opportunities—turns out to be quite complicated. Many “impostor” effects such as rehearsal borrowing, strategy changes during study, recency effects, and item skipping complicate the interpretation of spacing experiments. We suggest some best practices for future experiments that diverge from the typical spacing experiments in the literature. Next, we outline the major theories that have been advanced to account for spacing studies while highlighting the critical experimental evidence that a theory of spacing must explain. We then propose a tentative verbal theory based on the SAM/REM model that utilizes contextual variability and study-phase retrieval to explain the major findings, as well as predict some novel results. Next, we outline the major phenomena supporting testing as superior to restudy on long-term retention tests, and review theories of the testing phenomenon, along with some possible boundary conditions. Finally, we suggest some ways that spacing and testing can be integrated into the classroom, and ask to what extent educators already capitalize on these phenomena. Along the way, we present several new experiments that shed light on various facets of the spacing and testing effects.
TL;DR: In this article, the authors examined learning when multiple strategies were used, and concluded that improvement of solution time is better explained by practice on a strategy than by practice in a task, and that careful assessment of trial-by-trial changes in strategy can improve understanding of the effects of practice on learning.
Abstract: If strategy shifts speed up performance, learning curves should show discontinuities where such shifts occur. Relatively smooth curves appear consistently in the literature, however. To explore this incongruity, we examined learning when multiple strategies were used. We plotted power law learning curves for aggregated data from four mental arithmetic experiments and then plotted similar curves separately for each participant and strategy. We then evaluated the fits achieved by each group of curves. In all four experiments, plotting separately by strategy produced significantly better fits to individual participants' data than did plotting a single power function. We conclude that improvement of solution time is better explained by practice on a strategy than by practice on a task, and that careful assessment of trial-by-trial changes in strategy can improve understanding of the effects of practice on learning.
01 Apr 1999
TL;DR: LT-WM reflects a complex skill acquired to meet the particular demands of future accessibility for information with tasks within a particular domain of expertise, so that the traditional assumption of a strict separation between memory, knowledge, and procedures for the task is not valid for skilled performance.
TL;DR: In this article, the benefits of directed forgetting are explained by the differences in recall arising from individual strategy choices used to encode List 2, and the benefits are best explained by a more frequent use of deeper encoding of the second list by the forget group participants.
Abstract: We propose that the benefits of directed forgetting are explained by the differences in recall arising from individual strategy choices used to encode List 2. In Experiment 1, inducing participants to encode both lists using the same strategy (either shallow or deep) led to significant costs of directed forgetting but abolished the benefits. In Experiment 2, inducing a shallow encoding on List 1 and a deep encoding on List 2 produced similar results, abolishing the benefits but not the costs. Reanalysis of Sahakyan and Kelley's (in press) Experiment 2 showed that the costs of directed forgetting could be detected irrespective of participants' strategy choices. However, the benefits of directed forgetting are best explained by a more frequent use of deeper encoding of the second list by the forget group participants.
TL;DR: Results showed that incidental learning attenuated the benefits compared with intentional learning, as expected if a change of study strategy causes the benefits, and memory for source in directed forgetting was also explored using multinomial modeling.
Abstract: Instructing people to forget a list of items often leads to better recall of subsequently studied lists (known as the benefits of directed forgetting). The authors have proposed that changes in study strategy are a central cause of the benefits (L. Sahakyan & P. F. Delaney, 2003). The authors address 2 results from the literature that are inconsistent with their strategy-based explanation: (a) the presence of benefits under incidental learning conditions and (b) the absence of benefits in recognition testing. Experiment 1 showed that incidental learning attenuated the benefits compared with intentional learning, as expected if a change of study strategy causes the benefits. Experiment 2 demonstrated benefits using recognition testing, albeit only when longer lists were used. Memory for source in directed forgetting was also explored using multinomial modeling. Results are discussed in terms of a 2-factor account of directed forgetting.
TL;DR: This monograph discusses 10 learning techniques that benefit learners of different ages and abilities and have been shown to boost students’ performance across many criterion tasks and even in educational contexts.
Abstract: Many students are being left behind by an educational system that some people believe is in crisis. Improving educational outcomes will require efforts on many fronts, but a central premise of this monograph is that one part of a solution involves helping students to better regulate their learning through the use of effective learning techniques. Fortunately, cognitive and educational psychologists have been developing and evaluating easy-to-use learning techniques that could help students achieve their learning goals. In this monograph, we discuss 10 learning techniques in detail and offer recommendations about their relative utility. We selected techniques that were expected to be relatively easy to use and hence could be adopted by many students. Also, some techniques (e.g., highlighting and rereading) were selected because students report relying heavily on them, which makes it especially important to examine how well they work. The techniques include elaborative interrogation, self-explanation, summarization, highlighting (or underlining), the keyword mnemonic, imagery use for text learning, rereading, practice testing, distributed practice, and interleaved practice. To offer recommendations about the relative utility of these techniques, we evaluated whether their benefits generalize across four categories of variables: learning conditions, student characteristics, materials, and criterion tasks. Learning conditions include aspects of the learning environment in which the technique is implemented, such as whether a student studies alone or with a group. Student characteristics include variables such as age, ability, and level of prior knowledge. Materials vary from simple concepts to mathematical problems to complicated science texts. Criterion tasks include different outcome measures that are relevant to student achievement, such as those tapping memory, problem solving, and comprehension. We attempted to provide thorough reviews for each technique, so this monograph is rather lengthy. However, we also wrote the monograph in a modular fashion, so it is easy to use. In particular, each review is divided into the following sections: General description of the technique and why it should work How general are the effects of this technique? 2a. Learning conditions 2b. Student characteristics 2c. Materials 2d. Criterion tasks Effects in representative educational contexts Issues for implementation Overall assessment The review for each technique can be read independently of the others, and particular variables of interest can be easily compared across techniques. To foreshadow our final recommendations, the techniques vary widely with respect to their generalizability and promise for improving student learning. Practice testing and distributed practice received high utility assessments because they benefit learners of different ages and abilities and have been shown to boost students' performance across many criterion tasks and even in educational contexts. Elaborative interrogation, self-explanation, and interleaved practice received moderate utility assessments. The benefits of these techniques do generalize across some variables, yet despite their promise, they fell short of a high utility assessment because the evidence for their efficacy is limited. For instance, elaborative interrogation and self-explanation have not been adequately evaluated in educational contexts, and the benefits of interleaving have just begun to be systematically explored, so the ultimate effectiveness of these techniques is currently unknown. Nevertheless, the techniques that received moderate-utility ratings show enough promise for us to recommend their use in appropriate situations, which we describe in detail within the review of each technique. Five techniques received a low utility assessment: summarization, highlighting, the keyword mnemonic, imagery use for text learning, and rereading. These techniques were rated as low utility for numerous reasons. Summarization and imagery use for text learning have been shown to help some students on some criterion tasks, yet the conditions under which these techniques produce benefits are limited, and much research is still needed to fully explore their overall effectiveness. The keyword mnemonic is difficult to implement in some contexts, and it appears to benefit students for a limited number of materials and for short retention intervals. Most students report rereading and highlighting, yet these techniques do not consistently boost students' performance, so other techniques should be used in their place (e.g., practice testing instead of rereading). Our hope is that this monograph will foster improvements in student learning, not only by showcasing which learning techniques are likely to have the most generalizable effects but also by encouraging researchers to continue investigating the most promising techniques. Accordingly, in our closing remarks, we discuss some issues for how these techniques could be implemented by teachers and students, and we highlight directions for future research.
TL;DR: The data and a literature review suggest that Stroop interference is jointly determined by 2 mechanisms, goal maintenance and competition resolution, and that the dominance of each depends on WM capacity, as well as the task set induced by current and previous contexts.
Abstract: Individual differences in working-memory (WM) capacity predicted performance on the Stroop task in 5 experiments, indicating the importance of executive control and goal maintenance to selective attention. When the Stroop task encouraged goal neglect by including large numbers of congruent trials (RED presented in red), low WM individuals committed more errors than did high WM individuals on the rare incongruent trials (BLUE in red) that required maintaining access to the ?ignore-the-word? goal for accurate responding. In contrast, in tasks with no or few congruent trials, or in high-congruency tasks that followed low-congruency tasks, WM predicted response-time interference. WM was related to latency, not accuracy, in contexts that reinforced the task goal and so minimized the difficulty of actively maintaining it. The data and a literature review suggest that Stroop interference is jointly determined by 2 mechanisms, goal maintenance and competition resolution, and that the dominance of each depends on WM capacity, as well as the task set induced by current and previous contexts.
01 Jun 2006
TL;DR: There are several factors that influence the level of professional achievement as discussed by the authors, such as extensive experience of activities in a domain is necessary to reach very high levels of performance, however, extensive experience does not always lead to expert levels of achievement.
Abstract: There are several factors that influence the level of professional achievement. First and foremost, extensive experience of activities in a domain is necessary to reach very high levels of performance. Extensive experience in a domain does not, however, invariably lead to expert levels of achievement. When individuals are first introduced to a professional domain after completing their basic training and formal education, they often work as apprentices and are supervised by more-experienced professionals as they accomplish their work-related responsibilities. After months of experience, they typically attain an acceptable level of proficiency, and with longer experience, often years, they are able to work as independent professionals. At that time most professionals reach a stable, average level of performance, and then they maintain this pedestrian level for the rest of their careers. In contrast, some continue to improve and eventually reach the highest levels of professional mastery. Traditionally, individual differences in the performance of professionals have been explained by an account given by Galton (1869/1979, see Ericsson, 2003a, for a description). According to this view, every healthy person will improve initially through experience, but these improvements are eventually limited by innate factors that cannot be changed through training; hence attainable performance is constrained by one's basic endowments, such as abilities, mental capacities, and innate talents. This general view also explains age-related declines in professional achievement, owing to the inevitable degradation of general capacities and processes with age (see also Krampe & Charness, Chapter 40).
•17 Aug 2007
TL;DR: This chapter discusses cognitive architecture, which describes the architecture of the mind and the role that language plays in the development of thought.
Abstract: 1. Cognitive Architecture 2. The Modular Organization of the Mind 3. Human Associative Memory 4. The Adaptive Control of Thought 5. What Does It Take to Be Human? Lessons From High School Algebra 6. How Can the Human Mind Occur?
TL;DR: The available evidence suggests that activities can postpone decline, attenuate decline, or provide prosthetic benefit in the face of normative cognitive decline, while at the same time indicating that late-life cognitive changes can result in curtailment of activities.
Abstract: In this monograph, we ask whether various kinds of intellectual, physical, and social activities produce cognitive enrichment effects-that is, whether they improve cognitive performance at different points of the adult life span, with a particular emphasis on old age. We begin with a theoretical framework that emphasizes the potential of behavior to influence levels of cognitive functioning. According to this framework, the undeniable presence of age-related decline in cognition does not invalidate the view that behavior can enhance cognitive functioning. Instead, the course of normal aging shapes a zone of possible functioning, which reflects person-specific endowments and age-related constraints. Individuals influence whether they function in the higher or lower ranges of this zone by engaging in or refraining from beneficial intellectual, physical, and social activities. From this point of view, the potential for positive change, or plasticity, is maintained in adult cognition. It is an argument that is supported by newer research in neuroscience showing neural plasticity in various aspects of central nervous system functioning, neurochemistry, and architecture. This view of human potential contrasts with static conceptions of cognition in old age, according to which decline in abilities is fixed and individuals cannot slow its course. Furthermore, any understanding of cognition as it occurs in everyday life must make a distinction between basic cognitive mechanisms and skills (such as working-memory capacity) and the functional use of cognition to achieve goals in specific situations. In practice, knowledge and expertise are critical for effective functioning, and the available evidence suggests that older adults effectively employ specific knowledge and expertise and can gain new knowledge when it is required. We conclude that, on balance, the available evidence favors the hypothesis that maintaining an intellectually engaged and physically active lifestyle promotes successful cognitive aging. First, cognitive-training studies have demonstrated that older adults can improve cognitive functioning when provided with intensive training in strategies that promote thinking and remembering. The early training literature suggested little transfer of function from specifically trained skills to new cognitive tasks; learning was highly specific to the cognitive processes targeted by training. Recently, however, a new generation of studies suggests that providing structured experience in situations demanding executive coordination of skills-such as complex video games, task-switching paradigms, and divided attention tasks-train strategic control over cognition that does show transfer to different task environments. These studies suggest that there is considerable reserve potential in older adults' cognition that can be enhanced through training. Second, a considerable number of studies indicate that maintaining a lifestyle that is intellectually stimulating predicts better maintenance of cognitive skills and is associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in late life. Our review focuses on longitudinal evidence of a connection between an active lifestyle and enhanced cognition, because such evidence admits fewer rival explanations of observed effects (or lack of effects) than does cross-sectional evidence. The longitudinal evidence consistently shows that engaging in intellectually stimulating activities is associated with better cognitive functioning at later points in time. Other studies show that meaningful social engagement is also predictive of better maintenance of cognitive functioning in old age. These longitudinal findings are also open to important rival explanations, but overall, the available evidence suggests that activities can postpone decline, attenuate decline, or provide prosthetic benefit in the face of normative cognitive decline, while at the same time indicating that late-life cognitive changes can result in curtailment of activities. Given the complexity of the dynamic reciprocal relationships between stimulating activities and cognitive function in old age, additional research will be needed to address the extent to which observed effects validate a causal influence of an intellectually engaged lifestyle on cognition. Nevertheless, the hypothesis that an active lifestyle that requires cognitive effort has long-term benefits for older adults' cognition is at least consistent with the available data. Furthermore, new intervention research that involves multimodal interventions focusing on goal-directed action requiring cognition (such as reading to children) and social interaction will help to address whether an active lifestyle enhances cognitive function. Third, there is a parallel literature suggesting that physical activity, and aerobic exercise in particular, enhances older adults' cognitive function. Unlike the literature on an active lifestyle, there is already an impressive array of work with humans and animal populations showing that exercise interventions have substantial benefits for cognitive function, particularly for aspects of fluid intelligence and executive function. Recent neuroscience research on this topic indicates that exercise has substantial effects on brain morphology and function, representing a plausible brain substrate for the observed effects of aerobic exercise and other activities on cognition. Our review identifies a number of areas where additional research is needed to address critical questions. For example, there is considerable epidemiological evidence that stress and chronic psychological distress are negatively associated with changes in cognition. In contrast, less is known about how positive attributes, such as self-efficacy, a sense of control, and a sense of meaning in life, might contribute to preservation of cognitive function in old age. It is well known that certain personality characteristics such as conscientiousness predict adherence to an exercise regimen, but we do not know whether these attributes are also relevant to predicting maintenance of cognitive function or effective compensation for cognitive decline when it occurs. Likewise, more information is needed on the factors that encourage maintenance of an active lifestyle in old age in the face of elevated risk for physiological decline, mechanical wear and tear on the body, and incidence of diseases with disabling consequences, and whether efforts to maintain an active lifestyle are associated with successful aging, both in terms of cognitive function and psychological and emotional well-being. We also discuss briefly some interesting issues for society and public policy regarding cognitive-enrichment effects. For example, should efforts to enhance cognitive function be included as part of a general prevention model for enhancing health and vitality in old age? We also comment on the recent trend of business marketing interventions claimed to build brain power and prevent age-related cognitive decline, and the desirability of direct research evidence to back claims of effectiveness for specific products.