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Recall or retrieval of memory refers to the subsequent re-accessing of events or information from the past, which have been

previously encoded and stored in the brain. In common parlance, it is known as remembering. During recall, the brain "replays" a pattern of neural activity that was originally generated in response to a particular event, echoing the brain's perception of the real event. In fact, there is no real solid distinction between the act of remembering and the act of thinking. These replays are not quite identical to the original, though - otherwise we would not know the difference between the genuine experience and the memory - but are mixed with an awareness of the current situation. One corollary of this is that memories are not frozen in time, and new information and suggestions may become incorporated into old memories over time. Thus, remembering can be thought of as an act of creative reimagination.

In 1885, Hermann Ebbinghaus created nonsense syllables, combinations of letters that do not follow grammatical rules and have no meaning, to test his own memory. He would memorize a list of nonsense syllables and then test his recall of that list over varying time periods. He discovered that memory loss occurred rapidly over the first few hours or days, but showed a more steady, gradual decline over subsequent days, weeks, and months. Furthermore, Ebbinghaus discovered that multiple learning, over-learning, and spacing study times increased retention of information.[6] Ebbinghaus’ research influenced much of the research conducted on memory and recall throughout the twentieth century. Frederic Bartlett was a prominent researcher in the field of memory during the mid-twentieth century. He was a British experimental psychologist who focused on the mistakes people made when recalling new information. One of his well known works was Remembering: A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology, which he published in 1932. He is well known for his use of North American Native folk tales, including The War of the Ghosts.[7] He would provide participants in his study with an excerpt from a story and then asked them to recall it as accurately as they could.[7] Retention intervals would vary from directly after reading the story to days later. Bartlett found that people strive for meaning, by attempting to understand the overall meaning of the story. Since the folk tale included supernatural elements, people would rationalize them to make them fit better with their own culture. Ultimately, Bartlett argued that the mistakes that the participants made could be attributed to schematic intrusions.[7] Their current sets of knowledge intruded on their accurately recalling the folk tale. In the 1950s there was a change in the overall study of memory that has come to be known as the cognitive revolution. This included new theories on how to view memory, often likening it to a computer processing model. Two important books influenced the revolution: Plans and Structures of Behavior by George Miller, Eugene Galanter, and Karl H. Pribram in 1960 and Cognitive Psychology by Ulric Neisser in 1967.[5] Both provided arguments for an informationprocessing view of the human mind. Allen Newell and Herbert A. Simon constructed computer programs that simulated the thought processes people go through when solving different kinds of problems.[8] In the 1960s, interest in short-term memory (STM) increased. Before the 1960s, there was very little research that studied the workings of short-term memory and rapid memory loss. Lloyd and Margaret Peterson observed that when people are given a short list of words or letters and then are distracted and occupied with another task for few seconds, their memory for the list is greatly

recall is better when the environments are similar in both the learning (encoding) and recall phases.g. whereas a full recall of an item from memory requires a two-stage process (indeed. where items of information are linked directly a question or cue. remembering the name of a recognized person. Endel Tulving proposed an alternative to the two-stage theory. and it also has some advantages over the two-stage theory as it accounts for the fact that. and requires the direct uncovering of information from memory. The efficiency of human memory recall is astounding. recall involves actively reconstructing the information and requires the activation of all the neurons involved in the memory in question. Recall involves remembering a fact. in that it requires just a single process rather than two processes. the brain is usually able to determine in advance whether there is any point in searching memory for a particular fact (e. rather than by the kind of sequential scan a computer might use (which would require a systematic search through the entire contents of memory until a match is found). even if a part of an object initially activates only a part of the neural network concerned. Other memories are retrieved quickly and efficiently by hierarchical inference. etc. which became the popular model for studying short term memory. fill-in the blank questions. Most of what we remember is by direct retrieval. event or object that is not currently physically present (in the sense of retrieving a representation. Recognition is usually considered to be “superior” to recall (in the sense of being more effective). thus re-consolidating and strengthening it. in a kind of mirror image of the encoding process. or even as a collection of self-contained recordings or pictures or video clips.decreased. which he called the theory of encoding specificity. suggesting that context cues are important. etc. where it can be accessed. in practice.[5] Atkinson and Shiffrin (1973) created the short term memory model. e. Because of its focus on the retrieval environment or state. emotional material is remembered more reliably in moods that match the emotional content of these .g. Sometimes. but may be better thought of as a kind of collage or a jigsaw puzzle. recognizing a known face. Recall effectively returns a memory from long-term storage to short-term or working memory. Thus. e. It is then re-stored back in long-term memory. Typically. Recognition is a largely unconscious process. this is often referred to as the two-stage theory of memory) in which the search and retrieval of candidate items from memory is followed by a familiarity decision where the correct information is chosen from the candidates retrieved. Memories are not stored in our brains like books on library shelves. encoding specificity takes into account context cues. Recognition requires only a simple familiarity decision. and the brain even has a dedicated face-recognition area. This theory states that memory utilizes information both from the specific memory trace as well as from the environment in which it is retrieved. which passes information directly through the limbic areas to generate a sense of familiarity. where data about the person's movements and intentions are processed. and involves a process of comparison of information with memory. where a specific question is linked to a class or subset of information about which certain facts are known. however. There are two main methods of accessing memory: recognition and recall. memory recall is effectively an on-the-fly reconstruction of elements scattered throughout various areas of our brains. Memory retrieval therefore requires re-visiting the nerve pathways the brain formed when encoding the memory. Also.g. true/false or multiple choice questions. recognition may then suffice to activate the entire network. Recognition is the association of an event or physical object with one previously experienced or encountered. involving different elements stored in disparate parts of the brain linked together by associations and neural networks. whereas recognition only requires a relatively simple decision as to whether one thing among others has been encountered before. mental image or concept). it instantly recognizes a question like “What is Socrates’ telephone number?” as absurd in that no search could ever produce an answer). In the 1980s. before linking up with the cortical path. recognition is not actually always superior to recall.[9] Because of the way memories are encoded and stored. In the same way. and the strength of those pathways determines how quickly the memory can be recalled.

can severely impair subsequent retrieval success.[10] Furthermore. for example what you got for your 10th birthday. whereas sad people will better remember sad than happy information).[11] The 1960s also saw a development in the study of visual imagery and how it is recalled. memory model. Thus. Semantic memories are abstract words. whereas deep processing (such as that based on semantics and meanings) results in a more durable memory trace. in psychology. concepts. our everyday communication consists not just of words and their meanings. but also of what is left out and mutually understood (e.g. if someone says “it is 3 o’clock”. so that we can often flesh out details of a memory from just a skeleton memory of a central event or object. our knowledge of the world usually allows us to know automatically whether it is 3am or 3pm). Thus. To explain further. from sensory to short-term to long-term memory. the use of schemata may also lead to memory errors as assumed or expected associated events are added that did not actually occur. as opposed to the earlier Atkinson-Shiffrin. A person employs recall. for example. Distraction at the time of encoding. who found that the more image-arousing a word was the more likely it would be recalled in either free recall or paired associates. it typically has little to no effect on the accuracy of retrieved memories. although distraction or divided attention at the time of recall tends to slow down the retrieval process to some extent. According to the levels-of-processing effect theory.g. then. time spent processing the stimulus. memory recall of stimuli is also a function of the depth of mental processing. The next major development in the study of memory recall was Endel Tulving’s proposition of two kinds of memory: episodic and semantic. Tulving described episodic memory as a memory about a specific event that occurred at a particular time and place. Recall. The evidence suggests that memory retrieval is a more or less automatic process. cognitive effort and sensory input mode. shallow processing (such as.[12] There has been a considerable amount of research into the workings of memory. and specifically recall since the 1980s. happy people will remember more happy than sad information. that based on sound or writing) leads to a relatively fragile memory trace that is susceptible to rapid decay. which is in turn determined by connections with pre-existing memory. which explains the importance of the relation between the encoding of information and then recalling that information. and by our use of schema (plural: schemata). another alternative theory of memory suggested by Fergus Craik and Robert Lockhart.memories (e. when reminiscing about . Endel Tulving devised the encoding specificity principle in 1983. Thus. which we can use to make realistic inferences and assumptions about how to interpret and process information. the encoding specificity principle means that a person is more likely to recall information if the recall cues match or are similar to the encoding cues. This theory suggests. A schema is an organized mental structure or framework of pre-conceived ideas about the world and how it works. The previously mentioned research was developed and improved upon. typically. on the other hand. that memory strength is continuously variable. which just involves a sequence of three discrete stages. and new research was and still is being conducted. and rules stored in longterm memory. the act of retrieving information or events from the past while lacking a specific cue to help in retrieving the information. Such schemata are also applied to recalled memories. The efficiency of memory recall can be increased to some extent by making inferences from our personal stockpile of world knowledge. or multi-store. This research was led by Allan Paivio. However.

The Primacy Model moves away from these two assumptions. Short-term serial recall is also affected by similar sounding items. immediate serial recall (ISR) has been thought to result from one of two mechanisms. Our memory of our past appears to exist on a continuum on which more recent events are more easily remembered in order. in a word so that "slight" becomes "style. as recall is lower (remembered more poorly) than items that do not sound alike. suggesting that ISR results from a gradient of activation levels where each item has a particular level of activation that corresponds to its position. for example. our autobiographical memories." Serial-order also helps us remember the order of events in our lives.and be. retrieval will be more difficult. In this way. Similarly. Most students would rather take a multiple-choice test. there is no need to remember the relationships between the items and their original positions. The ability of humans to store items in memory and recall them is important to the use of language. rather than as a series of items. McLean and Gregg (1967) divided a randomly ordered list of 24 letters into groups and differential within. or meaningful units of sound. Alan Baddeley first reported such an experiment in which items within a list were either mutually dissimilar or highly similar. When it comes to learning a sequence of events. learning predominate at the position letters initiate a triplet. and according to research it is an unlikely mechanism. but in a number of non-human primate species and some non-primates. the sequence is repeated over time until it is represented in memory as a whole. which utilizes recognition memory. than an essay test. Also. or the phonological similarity effect. Research has supported the fact that immediate serial recall performance is much better when the list is homogenous (of the same semantic category) than when they are heterogeneous (of different semantic category). If. This suggests that semantic representations are beneficial to immediate serial recall performance. Imagine mixing up the order of phonemes. Retrieval of information is much more likely if individuals are tested in the same physical context in which the event they are trying to recall occurred. Thus. while the second refers to associations between items.perimenter-determined subdivision of otherwise arbitrary sequences in a serial learning . Imagine recalling the different parts of a sentence. Lesgold and Bower (1970) have that when serial list of letters is grouped into letter triplets. but in the wrong order. A useful representation of such results that events within a . the physical context at the time of learning differs markedly from the physical setting at the time of an exam. for example. This is true when lists are tested independently (when comparing two separate lists of similar sounding and not similar sounding items) as well as when tested using a mixed list. Tests of recall have long been a primary method used by experimental psychologists in the study of human memory processes. The foregoing results exemplify the fact that respond . Serial recall is the ability to recall items or events in the order in which they occurred. Serial recall in long-term memory (LTM) differs from serial recall in short-term memory (STM). Position-item relationships do not account for recency and primacy effects. In STM. which employs recall memory.a vacation or reciting a poem after hearing its title. The first refers to ISR as a result of associations between the items and their positions in a sequence.as well as other boundary related phenomena. The ability to recall in serial order has been found not only in humans. To store a sequence in LTM. Wilkes and Kennedy (1970) induced certain groupings on of nine and observed lengthened reading times at group. These associations between items are referred to as chaining. is clear that subjects make use of organizational principles provided by the experimenter.-group interresponse times both on the criterion trial of serial recall and in attempts to the list backwardly.

Lesgold & ). ten items A. If a list of. presentation of the material and attempted recall. . Peterson. 1962).group are serially organized together a representative implicit code. This paper is concerned with intratrial forgetting of individual list items. Intratrial retention intervals of individual items are filled with inputs and outputs of other items. Hillner. Saltzman. or input and out. can practically always be recalled immediately after its presentation (Murdock. and Land.e. with forgetting as it occurs within a single learning trial. that these codes are themselves grouped together in some fashion. it must have been "forgotten" during that interval. 1970. C. I. In this sense the item is always "learned" when it is presented. however short. A typical verbal-learning trial consists of two distinct phases. say. the two phases are necessarily separated in time. is presented to S in this order and at a fixed . A reasonably small unit of material. such as an individual item. . so on to yield hierarchical structure for the sequence as a whole (Johnson. 1961a. B. b. While many different patterns of input and output sequences can be and have been used in experiments. After a further interval the sequence is represented and the subject is asked to predict the next stimuli at each stage of the sequence so that each stimulus is a cue for the following response. . J. These two kinds of intervening activities can be regarded as two sources of intratrial interference responsible for forgetting of the critical item. Serial anticipation learning is an experimental paradigm in learning and memory research in which a timed sequence of stimuli (such as a list of words) is presented to a subject to be learnt.put. If it cannot be recalled following a retention interval. .. i.

then it is necessary to analyze them separately and to examine their joint effects. B. for the first list-item. for g e o m e t r i c forms b y Gibson a n d Raffel ( 1 9 3 6 ) a n d for p a i r e d associates b y M u r d o c k ( 1 9 6 1 a ) . A f t e r p r e s e n t i n g to S a list of p a i r e d associates. Output interference has been studied for tachistoscopically presented materials by Sperling (1960) and by Averbach and Coriell (1961). presentation and recall are separated by nine additional inputs. Anderson (1960). h a v e b e e n s y s t e m a t i c a l l y explored. I n p u t interference was clearly d e m o n s t r a t e d : p r o b a b i l i t y of recall of t h e critical i t e m was an inverse fu n c t i o n of the n u m b e r of i t e m s i n t e r v e n i n g b e t w e e n i n p u t a n d o u t p u t . For example. M u r d o c k h a d S recall j u s t a single item. Experiments by Peterson and his associates (Peterson and Peterson. 1959. . Their findings show that some of the stimulus information available to the S from the input becomes unavailable as a consequence of temporally extended output. N o experiments h a v e been reported in w h i c h the combined effects of these two sources of i n t e r f e r e n c e . they are separated by eight additional inputs and one output. Brown (1954). Peterson et al. and S is then asked to recall these items in the same order and at the same rate. A. but the particular combination of intervening inputs and outputs varies for items in different serial positions. Experimental analyses of response interference in memory tasks involving sequentially presented materials have been reported by Kay and Poulton (1951).term retention of nominally defined individual items also have demonstrated laid deterioration of recall following increasing amounts of intervening activity. the length of the intratrial retention interval is identical for all items. Input interference has been assessed separately from output interference in intratrial r e t e n t i o n . i n p u t a n d o u t p u t .. B y v a r y i n g t h e l e n g t h of the list a n d t h e serial p o s i t i o n in t h e list of t h e i t e m to b e recalled. M u r d o c k could o b s e r v e t h e effect of t h e n u m b e r of p r o a cti v e a n d r e t r o a c t i v e i t e m s on t h e recall of t h e critical i t e m u n d e r c o n d i t i o n s w h e r e no o u t p u t i n t e r f e r e n c e was p r e s e n t . J. and Mackworth (1962). until for the last item. and so on. Their findings have similarly shown that the act of recall of parts of the input material interferes with the recall of other parts. T h e present p a p e r describes a method t h a t c a n be used to separate the two sources and reports the findings of an experiment in which their concurrent effects on intratrial retention of individual items were investigated. 1962) and by Murdock (1961b) on short. for the second item. they are separated by nine outputs.rate. If we assume that inputs and outputs represent two different sources of intratrial interference having different effects on the recall of an item.