Memory & Cognition

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 159–167 | Cite as

The spacing effect in young children’s free recall: Support for automatic-process explanations

  • Thomas C. Toppino


The effect of spacing repetitions on children’s free recall was investigated in two experiments. In Experiment 1, both 4-year-old children and 7-year-old children exhibited a spacing effect in free recall, and the magnitude of the effect did not change with age. In Experiment 2, free recall was examined as a function of spacing, age (3 years old vs. 4 years old) and presentation rate (1 vs. 2 vs. 5 sec per stimulus). A spacing effect was obtained that did not differ as a function of age or presentation rate. Of particular interest was the fact that 3-year-olds exhibited a strong spacing effect even when stimuli were presented at a very rapid 1-sec rate. The results support the hypothesis that fundamental memory mechanisms that operate relatively automatically are sufficient to produce a spacing effect in free recall.


Free Recall Serial Position Presentation Rate Spacing Effect List Structure 
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.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas C. Toppino
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyVillanova UniversityVillanova

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