Mark McDaniel

Mark McDaniel

Director of the Center for Integrative Research on Cognition, Learning, and Education (CIRCLE)
​Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences
PhD, University of Colorado - Boulder
MS, University of Colorado - Boulder
BS, Oberlin College

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
    CB 1125
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

​Professor McDaniel is the principal investigator in the Memory and Complex Learning Laboratory. He has two main research interests: prospective memory and education.

McDaniel conducts research in the general area of human learning and memory. His most significant lines of work encompass several areas: prospective memory, encoding processes in enhancing memory, retrieval processes and mnemonic effects of retrieval, functional and intervening concept learning, and aging and memory. One unifying theme in this research is the investigation of factors and processes that lead to memory and learning failures. In much of this work, he has extended his theories and investigations to educationally relevant paradigms.

Selected Publications

Anderson, F. T., & McDaniel, M. A. (2021).  Restudying with the quiz in hand: When correct-answer feedback is no better than minimal feedback.  Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. Advanced online publication. (PDF)

McDaniel, M. A., Einstein, G. O., & Een, E. (2021). Training college students to use learningstrategies: A framework and pilot course. Psychology Learning & Teaching. (PDF)

Frey, R. F., McDaniel, M. A., Bunce, D. M., Cahill, M. J., & Perry, M. D. (2020). Using students’ concept-building tendencies to better characterize average-performing student learning and problem-solving approaches in general chemistry. CBE—Life Sciences Education. 19:ar42 DOI:10.1187/cbe.19-11-0240 (PDF)

McDaniel, M. A., & Einstein, G. O. (2020).  Training learning strategies to promote self-regulation and transfer: The knowledge, belief, commitment, and planning framework. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 15, 1363-1381. (PDF)

Miyatsu, T., & McDaniel, M. A. (2019). Adding the keyword mnemonic to retrieval practice: A potent combination for foreign language vocabulary learning?  Memory & Cognition, 47, 1328-1343. (PDF)

Anderson, F. T., & McDaniel, M. A. (2019). Retrieval in prospective memory: Multiple processes or just delay? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. Advance online publication.

Cejudo, A. B., McDaniel, M. A., & Bajo, M. T. (2019). Event versus activity-based cues and motivation in school-related prospective memory tasks.  PLoS ONE 14(4):e0215845. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215845

Miyatsu, T., Gouravajhala, R., Nosofsky, R. M., & McDaniel, M. A. (2019). Feature highlighting enhances learning of a complex natural science category. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 45, 1-16.

Nosofsky, R. M., Sanders, C. A., Zhu, X, & McDaniel, M. A. (2019). Model-guided search in optimal natural-science-category training exemplars: A work in progress.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 26, 48-76.

McDaniel, M. A., Cahill, M. J., Frey, R. F., Rauch, M., Doele, J., Ruvolo, D., & Daschbach, M. M. (2018). Individual differences in learning exemplars versus abstracting rules: Associations with exam performance in college science. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 7, 241-251. (PDF)

Anderson, F. T., Rummel, J., & McDaniel, M. A. (2018).  Proceeding with care for successful prospective memory: Do we delay ongoing responding or actively monitor for cues? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 44, 1036-1050.

Mark A. McDaniel, Robert M. Nosofsky and Craig A. Sanders. (2018) Tests of an Exemplar-Memory Model of Classification Learning in a High-Dimensional Natural-Science Category Domain. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 2018, Vol. 147, No. 3, 328–353

Mark A. McDaniel, Michael J. Cahill, and Julie M. Bugg. (2016) The Curious Case of Orthographic Distinctiveness: Disruption of Categorical Processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Vol. 42, No. 1, 104–113

Integrating Cognitive Science with Innovative Teaching in STEM Disciplines

Integrating Cognitive Science with Innovative Teaching in STEM Disciplines

This volume collects the ideas and insights discussed at a novel conference, the Integrating Cognitive Science with Innovative Teaching in STEM Disciplines Conference, which was held September 27-28, 2012 at Washington University in St. Louis. With funding from the James S. McDonnell Foundation, the conference was hosted by Washington University’s Center for Integrative Research on Cognition, Learning, and Education (CIRCLE), a center established in 2011. 

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

Peter Brown, Henry Roediger III, and Mark McDaniel


To most of us, learning something "the hard way" implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. Make It Stick turns fashionable ideas like these on their head. Drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, the authors offer concrete techniques for becoming more productive learners.


Memory plays a central role in our ability to carry out complex cognitive tasks, such as applying knowledge to problems never before encountered and drawing inferences from facts already known. New insights into how memory is encoded, consolidated, and later retrieved have led to a better understanding of how we learn. Grappling with the impediments that make learning challenging leads both to more complex mastery and better retention of what was learned.


Many common study habits and practice routines turn out to be counterproductive. Underlining and highlighting, rereading, cramming, and single-minded repetition of new skills create the illusion of mastery, but gains fade quickly. More complex and durable learning come from self-testing, introducing certain difficulties in practice, waiting to re-study new material until a little forgetting has set in, and interleaving the practice of one skill or topic with another. Speaking most urgently to students, teachers, trainers, and athletes, Make It Stick will appeal to all those interested in the challenge of lifelong learning and self-improvement.