I'm looking for studies or other scientifically-solid information on the topic. But first, an explanation.

I'm interested in the psychological phenomenon of priming as it relates to vocabulary study. As an example:

Say one reviews the word "austere", then shortly after is asked to explain "austerity". Even if the student struggled with "austere," they were primed to the general meaning of "austerity," and will more likely answer correctly on the second word's review, due to the priming effect.

Similar effects might be seen when studying, say, "pear" and "apple", due both being taxonomically similar.

My question is: How long does this priming effect last? Now I'm sure there's no single answer (I suspect the priming effect between "austere" and "austerity" to be stronger, and thus longer lasting, than that between"apple" and "pear"--I also expect the effect to be highly dependent upon the student's experience, and other factors, and it's probably some sort of exponential drop-off, rather than a specific "end point", etc). So I'm not seeking a numerical answer; rather I'm interested in research relevant to the topic, which would help explain these nuances, particularly so that they can be taken into consideration when constructing a language course relating to vocabulary.

I'm interested in reducing or eliminating this priming effect, by spacing review of related terms by an appropriate number of hours/days.

Anki attempts this, for example, by burying cards of a common note until the next day. I don't find this single-day interval to be sufficient for mature cards, so I'm looking for some evidence to suggest something closer to optimal.

Relevant research may or may not be directly related to language acquisition. I'd imagine studies on priming have been done in other areas (perhaps such as consumer marketing), which could shed relevant light on my question.


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