Learning Words Via Reading: Contextual Diversity, Spacing, and Retrieval Effects in Adults

Pagán, Ascensión and Nation, Kate (2019) Learning Words Via Reading: Contextual Diversity, Spacing, and Retrieval Effects in Adults. Cognitive Science, 43 (1). e12705. ISSN 0364-0213

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.12705


We examined whether variations in contextual diversity, spacing, and retrieval practice influenced how well adults learned new words from reading experience. Eye movements were recorded as adults read novel words embedded in sentences. In the learning phase, unfamiliar words were presented either in the same sentence repeated four times (same context) or in four different sentences (diverse context). Spacing was manipulated by presenting the sentences under distributed or non‐distributed practice. After learning, half of the participants were asked to retrieve the new words, and half had an extra exposure to the new words. Although words experienced in diverse contexts were acquired more slowly during learning, they enjoyed a greater benefit of learning at immediate posttest. Distributed practice also slowed learning, but no benefit was observed at posttest. Although participants who had an extra exposure showed the greatest learning benefit overall, learning also benefited from retrieval opportunity, when words were experienced in diverse contexts. These findings demonstrate that variation in the content and structure of the learning environment impacts on word learning via reading.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Word learning; Reading; Eye movements; Spacing; Contextual diversity
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Q100 Linguistics
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2020 11:00
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 12:00
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/43858

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