Spacing effect

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Spacing effect is a greater memory increase in a review that comes later in time (as long as it does not result in forgetting).

Spacing effect has positive and negative interpretations leading to a degree of confusion:

  • positive interpretation: if we increase intervals in learning (to a degree), we can improve learning (i.e. spacing effect is helpful)
  • negative interpretation: if we review too often, the results of the review will be ignored by the memory system (i.e. spacing effect is harmful)

In the two component model of memory, we use a stability increase function, which resolves the above confusion by stating that each individual memory trace has an optimum review time that maximizes the expected memory effect, which is a resultant of the spacing effect and the probability of forgetting.

SuperMemo makes it possible to maximize the spacing effect. For those who care little about long-term retention of knowledge, SuperMemo may also be considered a tool for the improved brain power.

This glossary entry is used to explain "I would never send my kids to school" (2017) by Piotr Wozniak