Psychological Research

, Volume 69, Issue 4, pp 272–284 | Cite as

Total retrieval time and hypermnesia: Investigating the benefits of multiple recall tests

  • Neil W. MulliganEmail author
Original Article


Hypermnesia is an increase in recall over repeated tests. A core issue is the role of repeated testing, per se, versus total retrieval time. Prior research implies an equivalence between multiple recall tests and a single test of equal total duration, but theoretical analyses indicate otherwise. Three experiments investigated this issue using various study materials (unrelated word lists, related word lists, and a short story). In the first experimental session, the study phase was followed by a series of short recall tests or by a single, long test of equal total duration. Two days later, participants took a final recall test. The multiple and single test conditions produced equivalent performance in the first session, but the multiple test group exhibited less forgetting and fewer item losses in the final test. In a fourth experiment, using a brief delay (15 min) between the recall sessions, the multiple recall condition produced greater hypermnesia as well as fewer item losses. In addition, final recall was significantly higher in the multiple than in the single test condition in three of the four experiments. Thus, single and repeated recall tests of equal total duration are not functionally equivalent, but rather produce differences observable in subsequent recall tests.


Recall Test Retrieval Practice Final Recall Multiple Test Condition Item Loss 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Cynthia Rodriguez, Chirene Boukkarroun, Sharon Chou, and Mike Steele.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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