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Retrieval practice: A simple strategy for improving memory after traumatic brain injury

  • JAMES F. SUMOWSKI (a1) (a2), HALI G. WOOD (a1), NANCY CHIARAVALLOTI (a1) (a2), GLENN R. WYLIE (a1) (a2), JEANNIE LENGENFELDER (a1) (a2) and JOHN DELUCA (a1) (a2) (a3)...

Memory impairment is common following traumatic brain injury (TBI), but interventions to improve memory in persons with TBI have been ineffective. Retrieval practice is a robust memory strategy among healthy undergraduates, whereby practice retrieving information shortly after it is presented leads to better delayed recall than simple restudy. In a verbal paired associate paradigm, we investigated the effect of retrieval practice relative to massed and spaced restudy on delayed recall in 14 persons with chronic memory impairment following a TBI and 14 age-matched healthy controls. A significant learning condition (massed restudy, spaced restudy, retrieval practice) by group (TBI, healthy) interaction emerged, whereby only healthy controls benefited from spaced restudy (i.e., distributed learning) over massed restudy, but both groups greatly benefited from retrieval practice over massed and spaced restudy. That is, retrieval practice greatly improves memory in persons with TBI, even when other mnemonic strategies (e.g., distributed learning) are less effective. (JINS, 2010, 16, 1147–1150.)

Corresponding author
*Correspondence and reprint requests to: James F. Sumowski, PhD, Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Laboratory, Kessler Foundation Research Center, 300 Executive Drive, Suite 10, West Orange, New Jersey 07052. Email:
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H. Ebbinghaus (1913). Memory: A contribution to experimental psychology ( H.A. Ruger & C.E. Bussenius , Trans.). New York: Teachers College. (Original work published 1885).

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Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
  • ISSN: 1355-6177
  • EISSN: 1469-7661
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-international-neuropsychological-society
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