The Production Effect

Written by: Ellen H, Oriana W, and Bari w

Portrait Of Man Reading Book at a library

Finals week can be pretty hectic, especially when going to a rigorous high school because there is so much information students must review. When students take more than six finals that are twenty percent of their grade, it is hard for them to pass when they don’t manage their time or are not good test takers. This means that a student with an eighty percent in a class can drop to a seventy-eight all because of poor study habits. So how do you survive this stressful week and come out with A grades? According to the University of Waterloo, using the production effect is the best way to survive finals week or any important task that requires the use of your memory.

The Experiment

According to Science Daily, a study was performed to see if reading aloud helped improve your memory. In order to find this out, researchers from the University of Waterloo conducted a study testing four studying methods. They told the participants to read a passage aloud and read it silently. They also had someone read the passage to them and had them listen to a recording of their own voice reading the text. After quizzing the participants, the researchers came to the conclusion that most of the 95 participants in the study excelled when reading aloud. This study backed up the researchers’ theory of the production effect. The production effect states that when we say things out loud it becomes engraved in our long term memory. This happens because we are studying by looking at the text and we are also saving the sounds of the words to our memory.

What we Think

This article was important because it allowed us to learn a way to strengthen or long term memory. Whether that be by memorizing our grocery list or studying for a big test, we now know we will be successful when reading out loud. Although the study provided great insight, it was missing a lot of key information. For example, the study did not state if the participants were a diverse group of people. Without knowing their ages or ethnicity, we do not know if the research is unbiased. This causes us to not know if the study has predictive or ecological validity. Also based on the information given in the study you cannot come to a conclusion if it was ethically valid. Overall the article could be improved by giving out more data, but it was great because it allowed us to learn about the CLOA principle number one. This principle states that humans are active information processors. This was shown in the study because the participants had to practice their recall which involves the mental processing of information.

Works Cited

University of Waterloo. “Reading information aloud to yourself improves memory of materials.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2017.

Kukurs, Robby. “Reading Aloud.” English Harmony. Image. 1 December 2017.


9 thoughts on “The Production Effect

  1. This article is actually really beneficial for most students right now. As far as myself, I have way too much stuff that I need to memorize, and I generally suck at memorizing stuff, so this study is a really useful tool to use. As far as the actual study goes, I wouldn’t say it’s ecologically valid just because of the lack of the information, but I feel like the experimenters did try to make it ecologically valid in the original experiment. Overall, however, the study and this article are both very sound and very informative.

    -Jacob H.


  2. I think this study may benefit some students, especially now that finals are approaching. I agree that including more information would have helped make the study more relible and valid. Reading aloud may help students, as stated in the study, but it also kind of depends on the person; it is hard to generalize this to a large population. For example, I personally learn best when reading something to myself.
    -Lirilinda D.


    1. Yes I do agree that this study could be very helpful to lots of people but it is pretty hard to generalize. I know some people say that they can memorize information better when they type it into a quizlet or when they write it down multiple times. I know personally that when I study I like to read out loud, just as stated in this post, while writing the information down simultaneously. That really helps we to remember things effectively.
      -Oriana W


  3. This study had good timing, with finals coming up. These case results don’t surprise me because reading aloud forces you to take in every word. Oftentimes teachers would tell us to practice presentations aloud and we also know practicing things aloud like you’re teaching someone is a great way to be sure of knowing the info.
    -Lauren G.


    1. Yes I agree. Reading things out loud while studying has always helped me. And I like how you brought up presentations. Practicing things such as speeches out loud help most people remember what they have to say and allows them to articulate it well.
      -Oriana W.


  4. I really enjoyed reading this blog post, especially since finals are approaching and these findings could help me score better on them. It would be nice if the researchers included a percentage of how many of the participants had an increase in quiz scores when reading aloud, but the fact most of them excelled really supports the production effect. As Lauren stated, you’re essentially forced to read something word-for-word when reading aloud, whereas you could just skim through a passage in your head without taking in every bit of information so the theory makes sense in that regard.



  5. I think this study works for some people, it works for me. When Im studying it helps to say it out loud and I do feel that I remember the information faster and it sticks for a while. However, there are many different learners in the world; some learn through writing, listening to music, draw, reading, etc. So I think it depends on the type of learner the person is to prove that it works.


  6. I don’t think this study can be generalized because personally, I do horrible when things are read aloud to me. I guess I don’t consolidate the things being said, and they go in one ear and out the other. I only really absorb information when I read them to myself in my head. I have had numerous occasions where this has been proven to be true to myself. I’ve done bad on quizzes where I let my friend read the book aloud to me versus when I read them quietly to myself. It’s funny that other people work the opposite way and just proves all humans are very different from one another.

    –Deja W.


    1. Yes I agree that this study cannot be generalized to everyone, but it is a step in the process of figuring out ways to help people memorize information. It would be cool if scientists could figure out a way to scientifically tell which way each individual learned best. Hopefully we will get to that point.


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