The cognitive underpinnings of incremental rehearsal

Sashank Varma, Katrina B. Schleisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Incremental rehearsal (IR) is a flashcard technique that has been developed and evaluated by school psychologists. We discuss potential learning and memory effects from cognitive psychology that may explain the observed superiority of IR over other flashcard techniques. First, we propose that IR is a form of spaced practice that capitalizes on the observed advantage for spacing learning opportunities over time rather than massing them together. Second, we propose that IR is a specific form of spaced practice known as expanded practice, which capitalizes on an observed advantage for increasing the interval between each spaced-learning opportunity. Leading theoretical explanations from the learning and memory literature on spaced and expanded practice are discussed. We suggest that researchers in school psychology and cognitive psychology collaborate closely on future research to further elucidate the mechanisms at work in IR, as well as on modifications to increase its effectiveness and efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-228
Number of pages7
JournalSchool Psychology Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014


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