Do older adults benefit from effortful retrieval?
The testing effect is the finding that memory benefits are higher after taking a test than after re-studying. This effect has been attributed to a higher level of effort to retrieve information during a learning phase. In the present study, younger and older adults from the community read four essays and then either re-read the essay or took a test. The tests differed in the level of effort required to recall the information. Two days later, participants took final short answer tests for all essays. The percentage of correct recall was higher for the low-effort conditions (initial multiple-choice) compared to the re-study condition (testing effect). No testing effect was found for the short answer condition. These results indicate that, in a sample of participants from the community, increasing retrieval effort does not always produce greater enhancements to learning. Multiple-choice tests can still be highly effective and convenient boosters for learning.
Rivas, Alda G. "Do older adults benefit from effortful retrieval?." (2015) Master’s Thesis, Rice University. https://hdl.handle.net/1911/88111.