Date of Award

Winter 12-19-2017

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



People differ in how quickly they learn information and how long they remember it, and a common finding in the literature is that a quicker rate of learning coincides with better retention for the learned material. Zerr and colleagues (2017) termed the relation between learning rate and retention as learning efficiency, with more efficient learning representing both a faster acquisition rate and better memory performance after a delay. Zerr et al. also demonstrated in separate experiments that how efficiently someone learns is stable across a range of days and years. The current thesis includes two experiments addressing additional questions regarding efficient learning. Experiment 1 (N = 119) examined whether efficient learning is generalizable across stimuli, including Lithuanian-English (verbal-verbal) and Chinese-English (visuospatial-verbal) paired associates. Experiment 2 (N = 190) assessed whether faster learners demonstrate better retention at a longer delay of 1 week, and also preliminarily examined whether faster and slower learners demonstrate differential rates of forgetting. These experiments demonstrated that learning efficiency is generalizable across stimuli and that faster learners maintain a retentive advantage at longer delays of 1 week.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Kathleen B. McDermott

Committee Members

Ian Dobbins, Mark McDaniel


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