Knowing how to assess and manage one’s own learning is critical for becoming an efficient and effective learner in higher education and across the lifespan. However, research suggests that learners are prone to developing incorrect beliefs about how we learn best (Bjork, Dunlosky, & Kornell, 2013). Thus, three primary aims of my research are to (1) identify, (2) develop, and (3) describe the underlying cognitive mechanisms of techniques that improve self-regulated learning and metacognition.

To accomplish these aims, I conduct theoretical laboratory experiments, applied classroom studies, and large-scale analyses of existing data to provide a multifaceted understanding of learning processes in educational contexts. One ongoing research line involves developing interventions aimed at improving students’ metacognitive awareness and self-regulated use of practice testing, a highly robust strategy that promotes long-term retention and understanding of information.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Rivers, M. L., Janes, J., & Dunlosky, J. (accepted). Investigating memory reactivity with a within-participant manipulation of judgments of learning: Support for the cue-strengthening hypothesis. Memory.

Rivers, M. L. (2021). Metacognition about practice testing: A review of learners’ beliefs, monitoring, and control of test-enhanced learning. Educational Psychology Review, 33, 823 - 862.

Rivers, M. L., Fitzsimmons, C. J., Fisk, S. R., Dunlosky, J., & Thompson, C. A. (2021). Gender differences in confidence during number-line estimation. Metacognition and Learning, 16, 157-178.

Rivers, M. L. & Dunlosky, J. (2021). Are test-expectancy effects better explained by changes in encoding strategies or differential test experience? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 47(2), 195-207. [link to data and materials]

Dunlosky, J., Badali, S., Rivers, M. L., & Rawson, K. (2020). The role of effort in understanding educational achievement: Objective effort as an explanatory construct versus effort as a student perception [Commentary]. Educational Psychology Review, 32(4), 1163-1175.

Rivers, M. L., Dunlosky, J. & Persky, A. (2020). Measuring students’ metacognitive knowledge and beliefs, monitoring, and control in the pharmacy classroom and experiential settings. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 84(5), 549-560.

Rivers, M. L., Dunlosky, J. , & Joynes, R. (2019). The contribution of classroom exams to formative evaluation of concept-level knowledge. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 101806.

Janes, J., Rivers, M. L., & Dunlosky, J. (2018). The influence of making judgments of learning on memory performance: Positive, negative, or both? Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 25(6), 2356-2364.

Storm, B. C., Hickman, M. L., & Bjork, E. L. (2016). Improving encoding strategies as a function of test knowledge and experience. Memory & Cognition, 44, 660-670.

Storm, B. C., & Hickman, M. L. (2015). Mental fixation and metacognitive predictions of insight in creative problem solving. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68, 802-813.


Bowman, N. A., Bell, Z. E., Rivers, M. L., & Soicher, R. N. (2020). Using psychological science to improve higher education [Editorial]. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 6(2), 93–96.