Essay: Memory & Memory Improvement

“Distributed vs. Massed Practice: which produces better learning”

As the years progressed, cognitive neuroscientist performed miscellaneous trials bolstering valid principles on the effectiveness of distributed practice. “Spacing effects have been demonstrated in motor learning, verbal learning, mathematics learning, and in other educational settings” (as described by Cepeda et al., 2006; Kornell, 2009). Distributed practice is a methodical acquisition of principles enforced in a manifold of athletics, academic professions, & extracurricular training in finite periods.

The following scenario is an example of quality repetition disseminated in finite periods: A full time graduate student enrolled in the Harvard clinical psychology program is studying for the (GRE) graduate record examination in curtailed intervals over extensive periods. As a result, the graduate student will be capable of activating regions in the mind to retrieve the necessary information to perform well on the examination to become a licensed clinical psychologist. How does the human mind retain necessary factual data to accredit what has been memorized through instruction or experience? What is the duration requisite to retain and recall new factual data? When can a person acknowledge the appropriate trial in distributed practice time? In the systematic series of measuring scientific experiments, Hermann Ebbinghaus was the first psychologist that established the groundwork of the process a human’s mind can retain information. “Under ordinary circumstances, indeed, frequent repetitions are indispensable in order to make possible the reproduction of a given content. Vocabularies, discourses, & poems of any length cannot be learned by a single repetition even with the greatest concentration of attention on the part of an individual of very great ability. By a sufficient number of repetitions their final mastery is ensured, and by additional later reproductions gain in assurance and ease is secured” (Ebbinghaus, 1913, p. 4). Ebbinghaus research exemplifies a superlative breakthrough that the human mind can embed an extensive acquisition of information through reiterated fluctuation of rehearsal. His results substantiate that within a sequence of recitals, the human mind will have the inclination to retain knowledge. The distinct mechanisms of the human brain correlates to the long term potentiation perceived as a phenomenon occurring on a molecular level embodying stimulation of synaptic communication among the neurons. The process of quantitative manipulation is the amount of material to be retained incrementing the neuronal pathway proceeded by an elongated duration consolidating data in the storage. “The series are gradually forgotten, but’as is sufficiently well known’the series which have been learned twice fade away much more slowly than those which have been learned but once. If the relearning is performed a second, a third or a greater number of times, the series are more deeply engraved and fade out less easily and finally, as one would anticipate, they become possessions of the soul'” (Ebbinghaus, 1913, p. 81). The reciprocal association in Ebbinghaus methodical analysis on the iteration experiment of distributed practice compromise one of the following: the human mind aggregation of data in one attempt through strenuous exertion within a brief span or the consolidation of processed facts by multifarious intervals in finite periods. Ebbinghaus state of mind influenced his actions to decipher the succession of 12 syllables within two varied ways: 1) Cramming information (68 repetitions) in a given day known as massed practice or by 2) Reiterated fluctuation of acquisition of knowledge (38 repetitions) throughout extensive periods known as distributed practice. He was dedicated in the recalling of three letter nonsense syllables entailing a vowel or consonant, which was not previously perceived. Ebbinghaus conducted the primitive trial on himself sustaining impartiality deciphering that, ’38 repetitions, distributed in a certain way over the three preceding days, had just as favorable an effect as 68 repetitions made on the day just previous’ (Ebbinghaus, 1913, p. 89). Ebbinghaus quotation deducts that distributed practice as potentially beneficial in retention of information when the individual exerts oneself to memorize within extended intervals. During Ebbinghaus experiment in the memorization of syllables, he discerned the pattern of the steady decline in progression for retention of data promptly formulating the forgetting curve. The constructed graph ranging the retention of memory from 0-100% explicated an estimation of data acquired psychologically in intervals perpetually diminishing. The rate of recalling the syllables in sessions dramatically ameliorated as Ebbinghaus reiterated the syllables concluding with distributed practice as efficacious. “And while cramming can work in the short term (Kornell, 2009), it does not produce long-term gains”. The statement states the negative consequences of massed practice attenuating the origin of structural plasticity in longterm memory. “Left to itself every mental content gradually loses its capacity for being revived, or at least suffers loss in this regard under the influence of time. Facts crammed at examination time soon vanish, if they were not sufficiently grounded by other study and later subjected to a sufficient review. But even a thing so early and deeply founded as one’s mother tongue is noticeably impaired if not used for several years” (Ebbinghaus, 1913, p. 4). Invariably reciting information will counteract the degeneration of consolidated memory in the human mind. The axon terminal purpose is to discharge electrical impulses for neuroplasticity due to the creation of synapses. Distributed practice progresses into the consolidation of long term potentiation in a matter of seconds modifying the synapses as a result of consecutive intervals. The primary constituent of distributed practice is the aversion of cerebral fatigue. In any cognitive task, massed practice is inconvenient due to its decadence in retention of intervals (consolidation emergence persist for only tenths of a second).

In conclusion, massed practice contributes to psychological & physiological lassitude within ephemeral intervals due to the strenuous exertion in the frequency of knowledge within a time span causing cognitive overload. The optimum methodical sequence in the fortification of knowledge is distributed practice. Opting this method to substantiate knowledge avails all man ascribable to the reposed interval resulting in curtailed evanescent memory. Stimulating the mind with various data concede interior consolidation, in the vein, the reposed interval classifies new information. Apparently, cessation of intervals learned during distributed practice are beneficial attributable to the inclination to promptly neglect inaccuracies followed by associating accuracy.

*(Required: Last reference for distributed practice)'(topic: accuracy in distributed practice, errors in distributed practice, & inaccuracy in distributed practice)

Distributed practice retain accurate consolidated information expediting the learning process.

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