Adjunct questions improve comprehension of related but untested content

Beyond the Testing effect, answering questions while reading a text (Adjunct questions) promotes better general absorption, including of untested material from the text.

It’s possible that this is purely due to increased attention and focus: Rothkopf (1966) was able to achieve similar results on untested questions by simply admonishing students to read “slowly and carefully”. But the review by Hamaker (1986) emphasizes that this effect appears to be concentrated in related-but-not-directly-tested material, rather than wholly unrelated material. He finds only small effects measured under some conditions (higher-order questions, unrestricted time) for the latter. This is in interesting contrast to what we saw with the Mnemonic medium: The mnemonic medium may push readers to read more slowly and attentively.

For related-but-untested material, the effect appears to apply both backwards (e.g. inducing additional processing of related-but-untested material you just read)—a somewhat generalized Testing effect—and forwards (e.g. by priming relevant prior knowledge)—a Pre-testing effect.


Last updated 2023-09-13.