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, the 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 for learners of all backgrounds. To accomplish these aims, I conduct rigorous laboratory experiments, applied classroom studies, and large-scale analyses of existing data to provide a multifaceted understanding of learning processes in a variety of educational contexts.
Ongoing projects include:
Identifying the theoretical underpinnings of effective learning strategies
Evaluating theoretical explanations for the effects of monitoring learning on memory performance (Janes, Rivers, & Dunlosky, 2018; Rivers, Dunlosky, Janes, Witherby, & Tauber, 2023; Rivers, Janes, Dunlosky, Witherby, & Tauber, 2023; Rivers, Janes, & Dunlosky, 2021) and the role of response format on the effectiveness of retrieval practice (Rivers, Northern, & Tauber, in preparation).
Investigating the role of test experience in promoting accurate metacognition
Exploring the conditions under which tests can offer insight into one's own knowledge (Rivers, Dunlosky, & Joynes, 2019) and the effectiveness of various learning strategies, such as generating words in a text passage using contextual cues (Storm, Hickman (Rivers), & Bjork, 2016), making associations between related words (Rivers & Dunlosky, 2021), answering pre-questions before reading (Pan & Rivers, 2023), and recalling information from memory (Rivers, Dunlosky, & McLeod, 2022).
Promoting effective self-regulated learning
Identifying the primary barriers to the adoption and continued use of effective learning strategies -- such as incomplete knowledge about strategies and perceived mental effort (Dunlosky, Badali, Rivers, & Rawson, 2020; Rivers, 2021) -- and addressing such barriers through various interventions (Rivers, 2023).
Rivers, M. L., Babineau, A. L., Neely, K. P. & Tauber, S. K. (in press). How do students and faculty consider numerical ratings and comments about daily quizzing when interpreting student evaluations of teaching? Teaching of Psychology. [PDF | Data and materials]
Rivers, M. L., Dunlosky, J., Janes, J. L., Witherby, A. E., & Tauber, S. K. (2023). Judgments of learning enhance recall for category-cued but not letter-cued Items. Memory & Cognition, 51, 1547-1561. [PDF | Data and materials]
Rivers, M. L., Janes, J. L., Dunlosky, J., Witherby, A. E., & Tauber, S. K. (2023). Exploring the role of attentional reorienting in the reactive effects of judgments of learning on memory performance. Journal of Intelligence, 11(8), 164. [PDF | Data and materials]
Pan, S. C. & Rivers, M. L. (2023). Metacognitive awareness of the pretesting effect improves with self-regulation support. Memory & Cognition, 51(6), 1461-1480. [PDF | Preregistrations, data, and materials]
Rivers, M. L. (2023). Test experience, direct instruction, and their combination promote accurate beliefs about the testing effect. Journal of Intelligence, 11(7), 147. [PDF |Data]
Rivers, M. L., Dunlosky, J., & McLeod, M. (2022). What constrains people's ability to learn about the testing effect through task experience? Memory, 30(10), 1387-1404. [PDF | Preregistrations, data, and materials]
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. [PDF]
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. [PDF | Data and materials]
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. [PDF]
Rivers, M. L., Janes, J., & Dunlosky, J. (2021). Investigating memory reactivity with a within-participant manipulation of judgments of learning: Support for the cue-strengthening hypothesis. Memory, 29(10), 1342-1353. [PDF | 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. [PDF]
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. [PDF]
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. [PDF]
Rivers, M. L., Dunlosky, J., & Joynes, R. (2019). The contribution of classroom exams to formative evaluation of concept-level knowledge. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 101806. [PDF]
Janes, J. L., 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. [PDF]
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. [PDF]
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. [PDF]