Two cognitive scientists you need to know

For our readers, Roediger and Karpicke are (or soon will be) household names – they are leaders in research on retrieval practice and they have published many of the highest cited articles on how humans learn and remember information.

This week, learn more about who they are, the boom of interest in retrieval practice in the past 10 years (due, in large part, to them), and how to access their valuable research – which will continue to shape cognitive science and education for decades to come.

Henry L. Roediger, III & Jeffrey D. Karpicke


If you've seen the figure below, then you've probably heard of Henry L. Roediger, III and Jeffrey D. Karpicke. In their influential paper from 2006, Professors Roediger and Karpicke demonstrated that when students repeatedly study a passage (sea otters, anyone?), they remember more in the short-term. But when students repeatedly engage in free recall, they remember much more in the long-term.

In a new article, Roediger and Karpicke reflect on their 2006 paper and the resurgence of research on retrieval practice (also known as the "testing effect" in the research literature) over the past 10 years. As they note in their new paper, research on retrieval practice has been around for more than 100 years. Their findings in 2006 highlighted that these benefits are robust, applicable to a variety of materials beyond simple lists of words, and elusive to students– students predicted they would remember the passages better after restudying, contrary to the actual findings.

Pick up any research article published on retrieval practice since 2006, and it most probably cites Roediger & Karpicke (2006). All of the strategies we feature in our email updates and our library have roots in this landmark research. If you want to gain an understanding of research on retrieval practice, you must start by learning more about Roediger and Karpicke.

Download Roediger and Karpicke's new article to learn more about their initial research idea and how they have made a lasting impact on the field of cognitive science.


Henry L. Roediger, III

Professor, Washington University in St. Louis

For more from Professor Roediger, we recommend:


Jeffrey D. Karpicke

Professor, Purdue University

For more from Professor Karpicke, we recommend: