How Does Stimulus Difficulty Affect Study Time Allocation in Younger Adults?
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Study time (ST) is defined as the amount of time (in seconds) an individual spends in the pursuit of learning new information. Decisions related to study time allocation reflect a person’s learning goals and perceptions of current performance. These perceptions, in turn, can potentially be influenced by multiple sources of information about one’s current state of learning, which are called metacognitive cues. Prior research has emphasized the powerful role of one cue, memory for past test (MPT), on subsequent learning behaviors. MPT reflects one’s remembrance of prior memory success or failure during a test. Newer research supports the roles of other metacognitive cues on ST in addition to that of MPT,7 such as: (1) assessments of item difficulty made after an initial study opportunity, (2) subjective memory response confidence during the first test, (3) objective response times during the first test, and (4) subjective response time estimates (how fast they think they responded to test questions). Previous research on ST allocation used stimuli of similar difficulty. The current work used both easy- and difficult-to-learn stimuli to clarify the relative importance of different metacognitive cues on ST decisions. We hypothesized that the relative impact of metacognitive cues on ST would differ such that some cues would be more predictive of study time than others (consistent with prior work) and these relative weights would also differ as a function of stimulus difficulty (novel to the current work).
Judgment of learning (JOL)
Memory for past test performance (MPT)