Journal of Intelligence
Response Time Reduction Due to Retesting in Mental Speed Tests: A Meta-Analysis (article link)
Jana Scharfen, Diego Blum and Heinz Holling
As retest effects in cognitive ability tests have been investigated by various primary and meta-analytic studies, most studies from this area focus on score gains as a result of retesting. To the best of our knowledge, no meta-analytic study has been reported that provides sizable estimates of response time (RT) reductions due to retesting. This multilevel meta-analysis focuses on mental speed tasks, for which outcome measures often consist of RTs. The size of RT reduction due to retesting in mental speed tasks for up to four test administrations was analyzed based on 36 studies including 49 samples and 212 outcomes for a total sample size of 21,810. Significant RT reductions were found, which increased with the number of test administrations, without reaching a plateau. Larger RT reductions were observed in more complex mental speed tasks compared to simple ones, whereas age and test-retest interval mostly did not moderate the size of the effect. Although a high heterogeneity of effects exists, retest effects were shown to occur for mental speed tasks regarding RT outcomes and should thus be more thoroughly accounted for in applied and research settings.
Keywords: meta-analysis; mental speed; processing speed; retest effect; practice effect; response time; reaction time; automatization
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