"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
5 On the role of cognitive science in the design of systems to augment cognition7 On the role of cognitive science in the design of systems to augment cognitionOn the role of cognitive science in the design of systems to augment cognitionPart II: Personal Memory Systems More BroadlyAugmenting Long-term Memory2020-09-24Journal
In some sense, this is not satisfactory: we don't have a very good understanding of what spacing schedule to use. But a system has to use some schedule, and so designers do the best they can. This seems likely to work much better than naive approaches, but over the long run it'd be good to have an approach based on a detailed theory of human memory.
Now, one response to this is to say that you should design scientifically, and have good experimental evidence for all design choices. I've heard this used as a criticism of the designers of systems such as Anki, that they make too many ad hoc guesses, not backed by a systematic scientific understanding.