Emily Cowan, a postdoctoral fellow at Temple's Adaptive Memory Lab, was the lead author of a research paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The paper, titled "The effects of mnemonic variability and spacing on memory over multiple timescales," was co-authored by Benjamin Rottman and Yiwen Zhang from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as Vishnu P. Murty, principal investigator of the Adaptive Memory Lab.

Cowan said:

In the Adaptive Memory Lab at Temple University, led by Dr. Vishnu "Deepu" Murty, we study how aspects of our experience influence what we remember. In a new paper out now in PNAS, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, we present a new take on a classic finding in cognitive psychology research showing that memory benefits when repeated learning opportunities are spaced out over time, rather than shown consecutively. Yet, prior work on the 'spacing effect' has generally focused on repetitions of the same information, which is rare in real life. Instead, our experiences may contain some features that stay the same, while other features may vary. In two large scale experiments we studied the efficacy of the spacing effect in face of such variability. Our results suggest that the benefits of spaced learning are not absolute, and that the content and timing of what we learn can impact later memory.

Congratulations to Emily Cowan and her team. Read more about the study and its background.