David R. Shanks's research while affiliated with University College London and other places

Publications (260)

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Observing category exemplars in an interleaved manner is more beneficial for inductive learning than blocked (massed) presentation, a phenomenon termed the interleaving effect on inductive learning. However, people tend to erroneously believe that massed is more beneficial than interleaved learning, and learners prefer the former during self-regula...
Article
Testing facilitates subsequent learning of new information, a phenomenon known as the forward testing effect. The effect is often investigated in multilist procedures, where studied lists are followed by a retrieval test, or a control task such as restudying, and learning is compared on the final list. In most studies of the effect, tests include a...
Article
Two recent meta-analyses on inattentional blindness (Kreitz, Pugnaghi, & Memmert, 2020; Nobre et al., 2020) concluded that objects can be processed implicitly even when attention is directed elsewhere. However, signs of publication bias are evident in both of these meta-analyses. Here, we employed multiple tools to correct for publication bias in t...
Article
It is usually easier to find objects in familiar contexts that we have seen before. The type of learning that underlies this facilitation, known as contextual cueing, has been understood as an incidental and automatic process given that, among other reasons, it seems to be independent of working memory (WM) resources. This claim has found support i...
Preprint
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Adjusting for publication bias is essential when drawing meta-analytic inferences. However,most methods that adjust for publication bias are sensitive to the particular researchconditions, such as the degree of heterogeneity in effect sizes across studies. Sladekovaet al. (2022) tried to circumvent this complication by selecting the methods that ar...
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Research has consistently demonstrated that learners are strikingly poor at metacognitively monitoring their learning and comprehension of texts. The aim of the present meta-analysis is to explore three important questions about metacomprehension: (a) To what extent can people accurately discriminate well-learned texts from less well learned ones?...
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Studies on unconscious mental processes typically require that participants are unaware of some information (e.g., a visual stimulus). An important methodological question in this field of research is how to deal with data from participants who become aware of the critical stimulus according to some measure of awareness. While it has previously bee...
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Construal Level Theory (CLT) is one of the most foundational theories in social cognition. However, the few replication studies available indicate a mixed pattern regarding the evidence supporting this theory. This article assesses the credibility of CLT more widely by using publication bias correction techniques on published studies in the CLT lit...
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Prior retrieval practice potentiates new learning. A recent meta-analysis of this test-potentiated new learning (TPNL) effect by Chan, Meissner, and Davis (2018) concluded that it is a robust and reliable finding (Hedges’ g = 0.44). Although Chan et al. discussed three different experimental designs that have been employed to study TPNL, we argue t...
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The adoption and incentivisation of open and transparent research practices is critical in addressing issues around research reproducibility and research integrity. These practices will require training and funding. Individuals need to be incentivised to adopt open and transparent research practices (e.g., added as desirable criteria in hiring, pro...
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In studies on probabilistic cuing of visual search, participants search for a target among several distractors and report some feature of the target. In a biased stage the target appears more frequently in one specific area of the search display. Eventually, participants become faster at finding the target in that rich region compared to the sparse...
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Any large dataset can be analyzed in a number of ways, and it is possible that the use of different analysis strategies will lead to different results and conclusions. One way to assess whether the results obtained depend on the analysis strategy chosen is to employ multiple analysts and leave each of them free to follow their own approach. Here, w...
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Recent studies established that making concurrent judgments of learning (JOLs) can significantly alter (typically enhance) memory itself—a reactivity effect. The current study recruited 190 Chinese children (Mage = 8.68 years; 101 female) in 2020 and 2021 to explore the reactivity effect on children's learning, its developmental trajectory and asso...
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Research on goal priming asks whether the subtle activation of an achievement goal can improve task performance. Studies in this domain employ a range of priming methods, such as surreptitiously displaying a photograph of an athlete winning a race, and a range of dependent variables including measures of creativity and workplace performance. Chen,...
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Studies of unconscious mental processes often compare a performance measure (e.g., some assessment of perception or memory) with a measure of awareness (e.g., a verbal report or forced-choice response) of the critical cue or contingency taken either concurrently or separately. The resulting patterns of bivariate data across participants lend themse...
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Judgments of learning (JOLs) play a fundamental role in helping learners regulate their study strategies but are susceptible to various kinds of illusions and biases. These can potentially impair learning efficiency, and hence understanding the mechanisms underlying the formation of JOLs is important. Many studies have suggested that both processin...
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An emerging body of studies demonstrates that practicing retrieval of studied information, by comparison with restudying or no treatment, can facilitate subsequent learning and retrieval of new information, a phenomenon termed the forward testing effect (FTE) or test-potentiated new learning. Several theoretical explanations have been proposed to a...
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As a method to investigate the scope of unconscious mental processes, researchers frequently obtain concurrent measures of task performance and stimulus awareness across participants. Even though both measures might be significantly greater than zero, the correlation between them might not, encouraging the inference that an unconscious process driv...
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Experimental psychologists often neglect the poor psychometric properties of the dependent measures collected in their studies. In particular, a low reliability of measures can have dramatic consequences for the interpretation of key findings in some of the most popular experimental paradigms, especially when strong inferences are drawn from the ab...
Preprint
In studies on probabilistic cuing of visual search, participants search for a target among several distractors and report some feature of the target. In a biased stage the target appears more frequently in one specific area of the search display. Eventually, participants become faster at finding the target in that rich region compared to the sparse...
Preprint
As a method to investigate the scope of unconscious mental processes, researchers frequently obtain concurrent measures of task performance and stimulus awareness across participants. Even though both measures might be significantly greater than zero, the correlation between them might not, encouraging the inference that an unconscious process driv...
Article
Full-text available
Familiarity-based processes such as processing fluency can influence memory judgements in tests of item recognition. Many conventional accounts of source memory assume minimal influence of familiarity on source memory, but recent work has suggested that source memory judgements are affected when test stimuli are processed with greater fluency as a...
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We present consensus-based guidance for conducting and documenting multi-analyst studies. We discuss why broader adoption of the multi-analyst approach will strengthen the robustness of results and conclusions in empirical sciences.
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Experimental psychologists often neglect the poor psychometric properties of the dependent measures collected in their studies. In particular, a low reliability of measures can have dramatic consequences for the interpretation of key findings in some of the most popular experimental paradigms, especially when strong inferences are drawn from the ab...
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Over the last century hundreds of studies have demonstrated that testing is an effective intervention to enhance long-term retention of studied knowledge and facilitate mastery of new information, compared with restudying and many other learning strategies (e.g., concept mapping), a phenomenon termed the testing effect. How robust is this effect in...
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It is usually easier to find objects in a visual scene as we gain familiarity with it. Two decades of research on contextual cuing of visual search show that repeated exposure to a search display can facilitate the detection of targets that appear at predictable locations in that display. Typical accounts for this effect attribute an essential role...
Preprint
It is usually easier to find objects in a visual scene as we gain familiarity with it. Two decades of research on contextual cuing of visual search show that repeated exposure to a search display can facilitate the detection of targets that appear at predictable locations in that display. Typical accounts for this effect attribute an essential role...
Article
In probabilistic cuing of visual search, participants search for a target object that appears more frequently in one region of the display. This task results in a search bias toward the rich quadrant compared with other quadrants. Previous research has suggested that this bias is inflexible (difficult to unlearn) and implicit (participants are unaw...
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Explicit memory declines with age, but age effects on implicit memory are debated. This issue is important because if implicit memory is age invariant, it may support effective interventions in individuals experiencing memory decline. In this study, we overcame several methodological issues in past research to clarify age effects on implicit memory...
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Although testing has repeatedly been shown to be one of the most effective strategies for consolidating retention of studied information (the backward testing effect) and facilitating mastery of new information (the forward testing effect), few studies have explored individual differences in the beneficial effects of testing. The current study recr...
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The procedural deficit hypothesis claims that impaired procedural learning is a causal risk factor for developmental dyslexia and developmental language disorder. We investigated the relationships between measures of basic cognitive processes (declarative learning, procedural learning and attention) and measures of attainment (reading, grammar and...
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It is well-established that decision makers bias their estimates of unknown quantities in the direction of a salient numerical anchor. Some standard anchoring paradigms have been shown to yield pervasive biases, such as Tversky and Kahneman’s (1974) classic 2-step task which includes a comparative question followed by an estimation question. In con...
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Recent debate about the reliability of psychological research has raised concerns about the prevalence of false positives in our discipline. However, false negatives can be just as concerning in areas of research that depend on finding support for the absence of an effect. This risk is particularly high in unconscious learning experiments, where re...
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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We present a consensus-based checklist to improve and document the transparency of research reports in social and behavioural research. An accompanying online application allows users to complete the form and generate a report that they can submit with their manuscript or post to a public repository.
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Smith and Church (2018) present a “testimonial” review of dissociable learning processes in comparative and cognitive psychology, by which we mean they include only the portion of the available evidence that is consistent with their conclusions. For example, they conclude that learning the information-integration category-learning task with immedia...
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The procedural deficit hypothesis claims that impaired procedural learning is at least partly responsible for the deficits in learning to read seen in children with developmental dyslexia. This study used a reading ability‐matched design to examine group differences in both procedural and declarative learning. Both children with dyslexia and typica...
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West et al. (2018) examined the relationship between implicit learning and reading and language attainment in 7‐ to 8‐year‐old children. The implicit learning tasks had poor reliability and did not correlate with language or reading skills. These findings raise problems for the claim that Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and Dyslexia are cause...
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Shanks et al. (2015) challenged the evidence that various forms of decision making can be influenced by romantic/mating primes. In their comment, Sundie, Beal, Neuberg, and Kenrick (in press) question both the meta-analysis and the 8 studies Shanks et al. reported, and describe an alternative p-curve analysis which they interpret as showing that ro...
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Interim testing of studied information, compared with restudying or no treatment, facilitates subsequent learning and retention of new information—the forward testing effect. Previous research exploring this effect has shown that interim testing of studied information from a given domain enhances subsequent learning and retention of new information...
Preprint
The procedural deficit hypothesis attributes developmental language deficits such as those found in developmental dyslexia and developmental language disorder, at least in part, to impaired procedural learning. In order to test this hypothesis we investigated the relationships between measures of basic cognitive processes (declarative learning, pro...
Chapter
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It is well documented that explicit (declarative, conscious) memory declines in normal aging. Studies have shown a progressive reduction in this form of memory with age, and healthy older adults (typically aged 65+ years) usually perform worse than younger adults (typically aged 18-30 years) on laboratory tests of explicit memory such as recall and...
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Guessing translations of foreign words (hodei?), before viewing corrective feedback (hodei-cloud), leads to better subsequent memory for correct translations than studying intact pairs (hodei-cloud), even when guesses are always incorrect (Potts & Shanks, 2014), but the mechanism underlying this effect is unknown. Possible explanations fall into tw...
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In recent years evidence has accumulated showing that interim testing of studied information facilitates learning and retrieval of new information—the forward testing effect. In the current article, we review the empirical evidence and putative mechanisms underlying this effect. The possible negative effects of administering interim tests and how t...
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Two experiments examined biases in selective attention during contextual cuing of visual search. When participants were instructed to search for a target of a particular colour, overt attention (as measured by the location of fixations) was biased strongly towards distractors presented in that same colour. However, when participants searched for ta...
Article
The font size effect on judgments of learning (JOLs) refers to the fact that people give higher JOLs to large than to small font size words, despite font size having no effect on retention. The effect is important because it spotlights a process dissociation between metacognitive judgments about memory and memory performance itself. Previous resear...
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Impaired procedural learning has been suggested as a possible cause of developmental dyslexia (DD) and specific language impairment (SLI). This study examined the relationship between measures of verbal and non-verbal implicit and explicit learning and measures of language, literacy and arithmetic attainment in a large sample of 7 to 8-year-old chi...
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Dijksterhuis and van Knippenberg (1998) reported that participants primed with an intelligent category (“professor”) subsequently performed 13.1% better on a trivia test than participants primed with an unintelligent category (“soccer hooligans”). Two unpublished replications of this study by the original authors, designed to verify the appropriate...
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We investigated whether manipulating the duration for which an item is studied has opposite effects on recognition memory and repetition priming, as has been reported by Voss and Gonsalves (2010). Robust evidence of this would support the idea that distinct explicit and implicit memory systems drive recognition and priming, and would constitute evi...
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Judgments about future memory performance (metamemory judgments) are known to be susceptible to illusions and bias. Here we asked whether metamemory judgments are affected, like many other forms of judgment, by numerical anchors. Experiment 1 confirmed previous research showing an effect of informative anchors (e.g., past peer performance) on metam...
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Iyadurai et al.¹ report a randomized controlled trial intended to mitigate post-trauma symptoms in motor vehicle collision (MVC) survivors presenting to an emergency department. The intervention, motivated by memory ‘(re)consolidation’ theory, consisted of a brief reminder of the accident followed by playing the computer game Tetris.
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Induction refers to the process in which people generalize their previous experience when making uncertain inferences about the environment that go beyond direct experience. Here we show that interim tests strongly enhance inductive learning. Participants studied the painting styles of eight famous artists across four lists, each comprising paintin...
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There has been considerable controversy around the limits and reproducibility of so-called "behavior" priming effects. Payne, Brown-Iannuzzi, and Loersch (2016) reported a series of 6 experiments on the effects of primes on participants' bets in a simulated blackjack game, and claimed that their findings not only establish the reality of behavior p...
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The forward testing effect describes the finding that testing of previously studied information potentiates learning and retention of new information. Here we asked whether interim testing boosts self-regulated study time allocation when learning new information and explored its effect on metamemory monitoring. Participants had unlimited time to st...
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Locating a target among distractors improves when the configuration of distractors consistently cues the target’s location across search trials, an effect called contextual cuing of visual search (CC). The important issue of whether CC is automatic has previously been studied by asking whether it can occur implicitly (outside awareness). Here we as...
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Generating errors followed by corrective feedback enhances retention more effectively than does reading—the benefit of errorful generation—but people tend to be unaware of this benefit. The current research explored this metacognitive unawareness, its effect on self-regulated learning, and how to alleviate or reverse it. People’s beliefs about the...