In inductive category learning, people simultaneously block and space their studying using a strategy of being thorough and fair.

SCIENTIFIC Studying something and then restudying it right away (blocking) is less effective than studying it and then restudying it again after a delay (spacing). Learners would do well to recognize the advantage of spacing, but they often rate it as being less effective than blocking. The authors looked at what happens when people are put in control of whether they block or space their own learning. Participants studied pictures of 5 penguins from each of 10 different species. They decided which species to study next on every trial. The results showed that participants did a lot of blocking, replicating previous research. When they were not blocking, though, they had a tendency to space more than would be expected by chance. The authors conclude that instead of consciously considering blocking or spacing when deciding how to study, participants blocked because they were trying to be thorough when they studied a given species, and they spaced because they were trying to be fair to all of the species by not returning to one until they had visited all of the others. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)