We investigated the individual and combined effects of enactment and testing on memory for action phrases to address whether both study techniques commonly promote item-specific processing. Participants (N = 112) were divided into four groups (n = 28). They either exclusively studied 36 action phrases (e.g., "lift the glass") or both studied and cued-recalled them in four trials. During study trials participants encoded the action phrases either by motorically performing them, or by reading them aloud, and they took final verb-cued recall tests over 18-min and 1-week retention intervals. A testing effect was demonstrated for action phrases, however, only when they were verbally encoded, and not when they were enacted. Similarly, enactive (relative to verbal) encoding reduced the rate of forgetting, but only when the action phrases were exclusively studied, and not when they were also tested. These less-than-additive effects of enactment and testing on the rate of forgetting, as well as on long-term retention, support the notion that both study techniques effectively promote item-specific processing that can only be marginally increased further by combining them.
2014. Vol. 6, 1-9 p.