Son (2004), participants studied a series of definitions of unusual words (e.g., hirsute-hairy). Each was presented for only 1 sec, and pp made a judgment of learning (rated how likely they thought they were to be able to recall the answer on a later test). Next, they decided whether to study that pair again immediately for 3 sec (i.e., massed), or to study it later (spaced), or indicated that they didn’t need to see it again. After the study session, a test was presented in which the definition for each word had to be recalled. Son found that the lower the JOL was for a definition, the more likely the participant was to want to see it again immediately (massed).
The better the definition was judged to be
learned, the more likely they would want to see it later (spaced). Yet for all levels of JOLs, final recall was better after spaced than massed trials. Thus participants could have done much better on the final test by spacing all definitions. People don’t seem to have clear appreciation of the benefits of spaced trials.