Max Larsson Sundqvist

Max Larsson Sundqvist


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Works at Department of Psychology
Telephone 08-674 76 54
Visiting address Frescati hagväg 14
Room 124
Postal address Psykologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. Max Larsson Sundqvist (et al.).

    Many would agree that learning occurs when new information is stored in memory. Therefore, most learning efforts typically focus on encoding processes, such as additional study or other forms of repetition. However, as I will outline in this thesis, there are other means by which to improve memory, such as retrieval practice in the form of tests. Testing memory has a reinforcing effect on memory, and it improves retention more than an equal amount of repeated study – referred to as the testing effect – and it has been assumed that retrieval processes drive this effect. Recently, however, this assumption has been called into question because of findings that suggest that articulation, that is, the act of providing an explicit response on a memory test, may play a role in determining the magnitude of the testing effect. Therefore, in three studies, I have examined the effects of retrieval and articulation on later retention, in an attempt to ascertain whether the testing effect is entirely driven by retrieval, or if there are additive effects of articulation. I have also explored possible boundary conditions that may determine when, and if, the effects of retrieval and articulation become selective with respect to memory performance. In all three studies, participants studied paired associates and were tested in a cued recall paradigm after a short (~5 min) and a long (1 week) retention interval, and retrieval was either covert (i.e., responses were retrieved but not articulated) or overt (i.e., responses were retrieved and articulated). 

    In Study I, I demonstrated that uninstructed covert retrieval practice (by means of delayed judgments of learning) produced a testing effect (i.e., improved memory relative to a study-only condition) similar to that of explicit testing, which supports the idea that the testing effect is mainly the result of retrieval processes. In study II, I compared memory performance for covert and overt testing, and found partial support for a relative efficacy in favor of overt retrieval, compared to covert retrieval, although the effect size was small. In Study III, I further explored the distinction between different response formats (i.e., covert retrieval vs. various forms of overt testing), specifically handwriting and keyboard typing. I also examined the relative efficacy of covert versus overt retrieval as a function of list order (i.e., whether covert and overt retrieval is practiced in blocks or random order) and its manipulation within or between subjects. The results of Study III were inconclusive insofar as a relative efficacy of covert versus overt retrieval, with respect to later retention, could not be demonstrated reliably. The list order manipulations did not appear to affect covert and overt retrieval selectively. More importantly, in cases where a relative efficacy was found, the effect size was again small.

    Taken together, the three studies that of thesis indicate that the benefit of testing memory appears to be almost entirely the result of retrieval processes, and that articulation alone adds very little – if anything – to the magnitude of the testing effect, at least in cued-recall paradigms. These findings are discussed in terms of their theoretical implications, as well as their importance for the development of optimal teaching and learning practices in educational settings.

  • 2017. Max Larsson Sundqvist, Timo Mäntylä, Fredrik U. Jönsson. Frontiers in Psychology

    Repeated testing during learning often improves later memory, which is often referred to as the testing effect. To clarify its boundary conditions, we examined whether the testing effect was selectively affected by covert (retrieved but not articulated) or overt (retrieved and articulated) response format. In Experiments 1 and 2, we compared immediate (5 min) and delayed (1 week) cued recall for paired associates following study-only, covert, and overt conditions, including two types of overt articulation (typing and writing). A clear testing effect was observed in both experiments, but with no selective effects of response format. In Experiments 3 and 4, we compared covert and overt retrieval under blocked and random list orders. The effect sizes were small in both experiments, but there was a significant effect of response format, with overt retrieval showing better final recall performance than covert retrieval. There were no significant effects of blocked versus random list orders with respect to the testing effect produced. Taken together, these findings suggest that, under specific circumstances, overt retrieval may lead to a greater testing effect than that of covert retrieval, but because of small effect sizes, it appears that the testing effect is mainly the result of retrieval processes and that articulation has fairly little to add to its magnitude in a paired-associates learning paradigm.

  • 2014. Fredrik U. Jönsson (et al.). Psychological Research 78 (5), 623-633

    Combining study and test trials during learning is more beneficial for long-term retention than repeated study without testing (i.e., the testing effect). Less is known about the relative efficacy of different response formats during testing. We tested the hypothesis that overt testing (typing responses on a keyboard) during a practice phase benefits later memory more than covert testing (only pressing a button to indicate successful retrieval). In Experiment 1, three groups learned 40 word pairs either by repeatedly studying them, by studying and overtly testing them, or by studying and covertly testing them. In Experiment 2, only the two testing conditions were manipulated in a within-subjects design. In both experiments, participants received cued recall tests after a short (similar to 19 min) and a long (1 week) retention interval. In Experiment 1, all groups performed equally well at the short retention interval. The overt testing group reliably outperformed the repeated study group after 1 week, whereas the covert testing group performed insignificantly different from both these groups. Hence, the testing effect was demonstrated for overt, but failed to show for covert testing. In Experiment 2, overtly tested items were better and more quickly retrieved than those covertly tested. Further, this does not seem to be due to any differences in retrieval effort during learning. To conclude, overt testing was more beneficial for later retention than covert testing, but the effect size was small. Possible explanations are discussed.

  • 2012. Max Larsson Sundqvist (et al.). Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 53 (6), 450-454

    Larsson Sundqvist, M., Todorov, I., Kubik, V. & Jonsson, F.U. (2012) Study for now, but judge for later: Delayed judgments of learning promote long-term retention. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 53, 450-454. Delayed judgments of learning (JOL) are assumed to be based on covert retrieval attempts. A common finding is that testing memory during learning improves later retention (i.e., the testing effect), and even more so than an equivalent amount of study, but only after a longer retention interval. To test the assertion that also delayed JOLs improve memory, the participants either studied Swahili-Swedish word pairs four times, or they both studied (two times) and performed delayed JOLs (two times) alternately. Final cued recall test were given after either five minutes or one week. Results showed a reliable learning-group by retention-interval interaction, with less forgetting in the group that alternated between studying and making JOLs. The results are discussed in relation to the self-fulfilling prophecy account of Spellman and Bjork (1992), and in terms of study advice, the results further underscore the importance of delaying JOLs when studying and evaluating ones ongoing learning.

  • 2013. Ivo Todorov (et al.). Archives of Scientific Psychology 1 (1), 7-13

    Judgments of learning (JOLs) predict later recall more accurately when they are made, after a delay, based on a cue alone compared with a cue and target. We investigated whether people recognize the benefit of cue-only responses when making JOLs and whether their preferences depend on how JOL prompts are phrased. Forty participants studied glossaries and then made delayed cue-only and cue-target JOLs. In one condition, where the JOL prompts were phrased as predictions of future memory performance, only 15% of the participants preferred the cue-only strategy, replicating Jönsson and Kerimi (2011). In another condition, where JOLs were phrased as assessments of the current state of learning, 55% preferred the cue-only strategy. To conclude, students do not seem to recognize the value of cue-only JOLs, but they picked the superior JOL strategy more often when the JOL phrasing focused their attention on their knowledge state at the time of the JOL, rather than on a future state.

  • 2011. Max Larsson Sundqvist, Fredrik Jönsson, Christin Mellner.

    Judgments of Learning (JOL) that are made after a delay, instead of immediately after study, are more accurate in terms of predicting later recall (the delayed JOL effect). The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy (SFP) theory explains the delayed JOL effect as the result of a testing effect. In the current study we tested the prediction that performing delayed JOLs leads to a memory improvement. During learning, 79 participants studied Swahili-Swedish word pairs, immediately followed by a cued recall test, and then made either one single or three repeated, spaced JOLs. A final cued recall test was given after either 5 minutes or 1 week. Making repeated JOLs did not increase memory performance compared to the single JOL condition, hence lending no support to the SFP theory. However, making repeated JOLs did improve their relative accuracy, which suggests that the delayed JOL effect mainly concerns memory monitoring and not performance.

  • Article Typer av brus
    2009. Max Larsson Sundqvist, Jan Dalkvist, Billy Jansson.

    Ett vanligt förfarande i parapsykologiska s.k. ganzfeldexperiment är att

    med hjälp av vitt brus, som spelas upp i hörlurar, försöka omsluta

    försökspersoner i ett slags totalt och oföränderligt perceptuellt

    tillstånd. I föreliggande studie undersöks konsekvenserna av att

    använda vitt brus som bakgrundsljud. 30 försökspersoner har lyssnat

    till åtta ljudslingor innehållandes fyra typer av brus vid två olika

    ljudnivåer, för att sedan i ett enkätformulär uppskatta hur dessa ljud

    påverkat dem. Resultatet visar på signifikanta effekter av så väl

    brustyp som amplitud, och dessutom en signifikant interaktionseffekt

    dem emellan. Utifrån resultatet verkar valet av vitt brus brus som

    akustisk komponent i ganzfeldstudier vara teoretiskt ogrundat och

    direkt ofördelaktigt. Vidare diskuteras bakgrundsbrusets tänkbara

    inverkan på försöksdeltagarnas förmåga att genomföra de uppgifter

    som ingår i ett typiskt ganzfeldexperiment, och slutligen konstateras

    att medan brunt brus förvisso verkar vara det mest omtyckta av

    försöksdeltagarna, är det också det mest suggestiva. Därför synes skärt

    brus vara ett lämpligare val av bakgrundsljud än något annat brus som

    användes i undersökningen.

Show all publications by Max Larsson Sundqvist at Stockholm University

Last updated: February 22, 2018

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