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Description: Making judgments of learning (JOLs) while studying related word pairs can enhance performance on tests that rely on cue-target associations (e.g., cued recall) compared to studying alone. One possible explanation for this positive JOL reactivity effect is that the prompt to make JOLs, which typically occurs halfway through the presentation of each pair, may encourage learners to devote more attention to the pair during the second half of the encoding episode, which may contribute to enhanced recall performance. To investigate this idea, an online sample of participants (Experiment 1) and undergraduate students (Experiment 2) studied a set of moderately related word pairs (e.g., dairy–cow) in preparation for a cued recall test. Some participants made JOLs for each pair halfway through the presentation, whereas other participants did not. Also, some participants were presented with a fixation point halfway through the presentation, whereas other participants were not. The goal of this fixation point was to simulate the possible “reorienting” effect of a JOL prompt halfway through each encoding episode. In both an unsupervised online context and a supervised laboratory context, cued recall performance was higher for participants who made JOLs compared to those who did not make JOLs. However, presenting a fixation point halfway through the presentation of each pair did not lead to reactive effects on memory. Thus, JOLs are more effective than a manipulation that reoriented participants to the word pairs in another way (i.e., via a fixation point), which provides some initial evidence that positive reactivity for related pairs is not solely driven by attentional reorienting during encoding.


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