Production on hold: delaying vocal production enhances the production effect in free recall

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The Production Effect (PE) represents superior memory for produced (read aloud) relative to non-produced (silently read) items. Another method of improving memory is taking a test on the study material–the Testing Effect. We evaluated the combined influence of both effects on free recall memory, using delayed vocal production, in which study words were vocally produced only after their disappearance. Such procedure involves an initial instant test since participants had to vocally retrieve the words (rather than read them aloud). In five experiments, participants were presented with study words that they were instructed to learn by no-production (reading silently), immediate production (reading aloud), delayed reading aloud, or delayed vocal production (instant retrieval). The results showed superior recall for delayed production over all other conditions. We suggest that the source of this superiority is the desirable difficulty induced by the addition of the initial test (retrieval effort) to the vocal production. The novel delayed production condition forms a superior mnemonic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-602
Number of pages14
Issue number5
StatePublished - 28 May 2018


  • Production effect
  • desirable difficulties
  • encoding distinctiveness
  • free recall
  • testing effect


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