Memory & Cognition

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 201–212 | Cite as

The effect of repeated writing on memory

  • Makiko NakaEmail author
  • Hiroshi Naoi


Repeated writing, or rehearsal by writing, is a common memory strategy for the Japanese, especially when learning new logographic characters. The to-be-remembered items are written down not as external prompts, as with reminder notes, but to be memorized in the course of writing them down over and over again. In this study, we investigated whether the strategy was effective, and if so, in which condition. Experiment 1 showed that repeated writing improved memory for graphic designs but not for Chinese characters, words, or syllables. Experiment 2 showed that the effect occurred for both Japanese and American subjects, suggesting that it was not the result of a cultural background associated with a logographic language. Instead, the effect seemed to be accounted for by the encoding specificity of visual-motor information, because repeated writing improved free recall— that included writing—but did not improve recognition (Experiment 3). In Experiment 4, the strategy was applied to learning the Arabic alphabet. Finally, similarities between repeated writing and


Free Recall Chinese Character Graphic Design Reading Condition American Subject 
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.


  1. Bradley, M. M., &Glenberg, A. M. (1983). Strengthening associations: Duration, attention, or relations?Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,22, 650–666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Craik, F. I. M., &Watkins, M. J. (1973). The role of rehearsal in short-term memory.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,12, 599–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dark, V. J., &Loftus, G. R. (1976). The role of rehearsal in long-term memory performance.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,15, 479–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Darley, C. F., &Glass, A. L. (1975). Effects of rehearsal and serial list position on recall.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning & Memory,104, 453–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Glass, A. L., Krejci, J., &Goldman, J. (1989). The necessary and sufficient conditions for motor learning, recognition, and recall.Journal of Memory & Language,28, 189–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Glenberg, A., Smith, S. M., &Green, C. (1977). Type I rehearsal: Maintenance and more.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,16, 339–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Glenberg, A. M., &Bradley, M. M. (1979). Mental contiguity.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning & Memory,5, 88–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Harris, J. E. (1984). Remembering to do things: A forgotten topic. In J. E. Harris & P. E. Morris (Eds.),Everyday memory, actions and absent-mindedness (pp. 71–92). London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  9. Intons-Peterson, M. J., &Fournier, J. (1986). External and internal memory aids: When and how often do we use them?Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,115, 267–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kamiya, S. (1982). The role of maintenance rehearsal in an item search task.Japanese Journal of Psychology,53, 87–93.Google Scholar
  11. Klatzky, R. L. (1980).Human memory: Structures and processes. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  12. Kusumi (1992). Meta-memory. In Y. Anzai, S. Ishizaki, Y. Otsu, Y. Hatano, & H. Mizoguchi (Eds.),Handbook of cognitive science (pp. 238–250). Tokyo: Kyoritsu Shuppan.Google Scholar
  13. Lee, T. D., &Hirota, T. T. (1980). Encoding specificity principle in motor short-term memory for movement extent.Journal of Motor Behavior,12, 63–67.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Levin, J. R., Ghatala, E. S., DeRose, T. M., &Makoid, L. A. (1977). Image tracing: An analysis of its effectiveness in children’s pictorial discrimination learning.Journal of Experimental Child Psychology,23, 78–83.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Levin, J. R., Ghatala, E. S., DeRose, T. M., Wilder, L., &Norton, R. W. (1975). A further comparison of imagery and vocalization strategies in children’s discrimination learning.Journal of Educational Psychology,67, 141–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Loftus, G. R., & Masson, M. E. J. (1993).On the use of confidence intervals in within-subject designs. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  17. Mann, V. A. (1985). A cross-linguistic perspective on the relation between temporary memory skills and early reading ability.Remedial & Special Education,6, 37–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Naka, M., &Takizawa, M. (1990). Writing over and over to remember? Does it work? Then why?Bulletin of the Faculty of Education, Chiba University,38, 31–36.Google Scholar
  19. Onose, M. (1987). The effect of tracing and copying practice on handwriting skills of Japanese letters in preschool and first grade children.Japanese Journal of Educational Psychology,35, 9–16.Google Scholar
  20. Onose, M. (1988). Effect of the combination of tracing and copying practices on handwriting skills of Japanese letters in preschool and first grade children.Japanese Journal of Educational Psychology,36, 129–134.Google Scholar
  21. Sasaki, M. (1987). Why do Japanese write characters in space?International Journal of Behavioral Development,10, 135–149.Google Scholar
  22. Sloboda, J. A. (1980). Visual imagery and individual differences in spelling. In U. Frith (Ed.),Cognitive processes in spelling (pp. 231–248). London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  23. Takahashi, M. (1985). The function of rehearsal on memory: Oral rehearsal and rehearsal by writing. InProceedings of Kansai Shinri Gakkai,97, 30.Google Scholar
  24. Takahashi, M., &Shimizu, H. (1989). The effect of rehearsal by writing and meta-cognition on children’s learning of Chinese characters in classroom.In Proceedings of Kansai Shinri Gakkai,101, 55.Google Scholar
  25. Thomassen, A. J. W. M., &Teulings, H. H. M. (1983). The development of handwriting. In M. Martlew (Ed.),The psychology of written language: Developmental and educational perspectives (pp. 179–213). Chichester, U.K.: Wiley.Google Scholar
  26. Tversky, B., &Sherman, T. (1975). Picture memory improves with longer on time and off time.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning & Memory,104, 114–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Watkins, M. J., &Graefe, T. M. (1981). Delayed rehearsal of pictures.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,20, 276–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Watkins, M. J., Peynircioğlu, Z. F., &Brems, D. J. (1984). Pictorial rehearsal.Memory & Cognition,12, 553–557.Google Scholar
  29. Weaver, G. E. (1974). Effects of poststimulus study time on recognition of pictures.Journal of Experimental Psychology,103, 799–801.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Weaver, G. E., &Stanny, C. J. (1978). Short-term retention of pictorial stimuli as assessed by a probe recognition technique.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning & Memory,4, 55–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Woodward, A. E., Jr.,Bjork, R. A., &Jongeward, R. H., Jr. (1973). Recall and recognition as a function of primary rehearsal.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,12, 608–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational PsychologyChiba UniversityChiba-shi, Chiba-kenJapan

Personalised recommendations