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. Sep 9, Learn about how memory retrieval works in our brains, plus get information on the potential problems that occur with this process. Memory encoding and memory retrieval are distinct, yet interconnected, phases of memory. How we encode information affect how well we can remember them.
and Memories Information Retrieving
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 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. In the s 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: Pribram in and Cognitive Psychology by Ulric Neisser in Allen Newell and Herbert A. Simon constructed computer programs that simulated the thought processes people go through when solving different kinds of problems.
In the s, interest in short-term memory STM increased. Before the s, 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 decreased.
The next major development in the study of memory recall was Endel Tulving 's proposition of two kinds of memory: Tulving described episodic memory as a memory about a specific event that occurred at a particular time and place, for example what you got for your 10th birthday.
Semantic memories are abstract words, concepts, and rules stored in long-term memory. To explain further, 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.
The s also saw a development in the study of visual imagery and how it is recalled. This research was led by Allan Paivio , who found that the more image-arousing a word was the more likely it would be recalled in either free recall or paired associates.
There has been a considerable amount of research into the workings of memory, and specifically recall since the s. The previously mentioned research was developed and improved upon, and new research was and still is being conducted.
Free recall describes the process in which a person is given a list of items to remember and then is tested by being asked to recall them in any order. Primacy effects are displayed when the person recalls items presented at the beginning of the list earlier and more often. The recency effect is when the person recalls items presented at the end of the list earlier and more often.
Cued recall is when a person is given a list of items to remember and is then tested with cues to remember material. Researchers have used this procedure to test memory. Participants are given pairs, usually of words, A1-B1, A2-B An-Bn n is the number of pairs in a list to study. Then the experimenter gives the participant a word to cue the participant to recall the word with which it was originally paired.
The word presentation can either be visual or auditory. There are two basic experimental methods used to conduct cued recall, the study-test method and the anticipation method. In the study-test method participants study a list of word pairs presented individually. Immediately after or after a time delay, participants are tested in the study phase of the experiment on the word pairs just previously studied. One word of each pair is presented in a random order and the participant is asked to recall the item with which it was originally paired.
The participant can be tested for either forward recall, Ai is presented as a cue for Bi, or backward recall, Bi is presented as a cue for Ai.
In the anticipation method, participants are shown Ai and are asked to anticipate the word paired with it, Bi. If the participant cannot recall the word, the answer is revealed. During an experiment using the anticipation method, the list of words is repeated until a certain percentage of Bi words are recalled. The learning curve for cued recall increases systematically with the number of trials completed.
This result has caused a debate about whether or not learning is all-or-none. One theory is that learning is incremental and that the recall of each word pair is strengthened with repetition. Another theory suggests that learning is all-or-none, that is one learns the word pair in a single trial and memory performance is due to the average learned pairs, some of which are learned on earlier trials and some on later trials.
To examine the validity of these theories researchers have performed memory experiments. In one experiment published in , experimental psychologist Irvin Rock and colleague Walter Heimer of the University of Illinois had both a control group and an experimental group learn pairs of words. The control group studied word pairs that were repeated until the participants learned all the word pairs. In the experimental group, the learned pairs remained in the list while unlearned pairs were substituted with recombinations of previous words.
Rock believed that associations between two items would be strengthened if learning were incremental even when pairs are not correctly recalled. His hypothesis was that the control group would have a higher correct recall probability than the experimental group.
He thought that repetition would increase the strength of the word pair until the strength reaches a threshold needed to produce an overt response. If learning were all or none, then the control group and the experimental group should learn the word pairs at the same rate. Rock found experimentally there was little difference in learning rates between the two groups. However, Rock's work did not settle the controversy because in his experiment he rearranged replaced word pairs that could be either easier or harder to learn than the original words in the word- digit pair.
In further experiments that addressed the question, there were mixed results. The incremental learning hypothesis is supported by the notion that awhile after Ai-Bi pairs are learned, the recall time to recall Bi decreases with continued learning trails.
Another theory that can be tested using cued recall is symmetry of forward and backward recall. Forward recall is generally assumed to be easier than backward recall, i. This is generally true for long sequences of word or letters such as the alphabet.
In one view, the independent associations hypothesis, the strength of forward and backward recall are hypothesized to be independent of each other. To confirm this hypothesis, Dr. George Wolford tested participants' forward and backward recall and found that forward and backward recall are independent of each other. The probability of correct forward recall was. E Asch from Swarthmore College and S. M Ebenholtz's experiment, participants learned pairs of nonsense syllables by anticipation recall.
After reaching a certain threshold of learning, the participants were tested by free recall to determine all pairs and single items they could remember. These researchers found that backward association was greatly weaker than forward association. However, when the availability of forward and backward recall were basically the same, there was little difference between forward and backward recall.
However associative symmetry theorists interpreted the data to mean that the results fit their hypothesis.
Another study done using cued recall found that learning occurs during test trials. In the test study phase, participants first attempted to recall Bi given Ai as a cue then they were shown Ai-Bi pair together.
This result suggests that after participants learn something, testing their memory with mental operations helps later recall. The act of recalling instead of restudying creates new and longer lasting connection between Ai and Bi. Another study showed that when lists are tested immediately after study, the last couple of pairs are remembered best.
After a five-second delay, the recall of recently studied words diminishes. However, word pairs at the beginning of a list still show better recall. Moreover, in a longer list, the absolute number of word pairs recalled is greater but in a shorter list of word pairs, the percentage of word pairs recalled is greater.
Sometimes, when recalling word pairs, there is an intrusion. An intrusion is an error that participants make when they attempt to recall a word based on a cue of that word pair. Intrusions tend to have either semantic attributes in common with the correct word not recalled or have been previously studied in another word pair on the current list or a previously studied list or were close in time to the cue item.
When two items are similar, an intrusion may occur. Professor Kahana and Marieke Vugt at the University of Pennsylvania examined the effects of face similarity for face-name associations. In the first experiment, they wanted to determine if performance of recall would vary with the number of faces in the study set that were similar to the cue face. Faces were similar if the radius of the faces were within a range. The number of faces within a radius is called a neighborhood density.
They found that the recall of a name to face exhibited a lower accuracy and slower reaction time for faces with a greater neighborhood density. The more similarity that two faces have, the greater the probability for interference between the two faces. When cued with face A, name B may be recalled if face A and B are similar, which would signify that an intrusion has occurred. The probability of correct recall came from the number of faces that had other similar faces.
Cues act as guides to what the person is supposed to remember. A cue can be virtually anything that may act as a reminder, e. In contrast to free recall, the subject is prompted to remember a certain item on the list or remember the list in a certain order. Cued recall also plays into free recall because when cues are provided to a subject, they will remember items on the list that they did not originally recall without a cue.
Tulving explained this phenomenon in his research. When he gave participants associative cues to items that they did not originally recall and that were thought to be lost to memory, the participants were able to recall the item. Serial recall is the ability to recall items or events in the order in which they occurred. Imagine recalling the different parts of a sentence, but in the wrong order.
The ability to recall in serial order has been found not only in humans, but in a number of non-human primate species and some non-primates. Our memory of our past appears to exist on a continuum on which more recent events are more easily remembered in order.
To store a sequence in LTM, the sequence is repeated over time until it is represented in memory as a whole, rather than as a series of items. In this way, there is no need to remember the relationships between the items and their original positions. The first refers to ISR as a result of associations between the items and their positions in a sequence, while the second refers to associations between items.
These associations between items are referred to as chaining, and is an unlikely mechanism, according to research. The Primacy Model moves away from these two assumptions, suggesting that ISR results from a gradient of activation levels where each item has a particular level of activation that corresponds to its position. This suggests that semantic representations are beneficial to immediate serial recall performance. 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.
Alan Baddeley first reported such an experiment in which items within a list were either mutually dissimilar or highly similar. There is evidence indicating that rhythm is highly sensitive to competing motor production. Actions such as paced finger tapping can have an effect on recall as the disruptive impact of paced finger tapping, but lack of consistent effect of paced irrelevant sound, is indicative of motor feedback from the tapping task disrupting rehearsal and storage.
The anterior cingulate cortex , globus pallidus , thalamus , and cerebellum show higher activation during recall than during recognition which suggests that these components of the cerebello-frontal pathway play a role in recall processes that they do not in recognition.
Although recall and recognition are considered separate processes, it should be noted that they are both most likely constitute components of distributed networks of brain regions. According to neuroimaging data, PET studies on recall and recognition have consistently found increases in regional cerebral blood flow RCBF in the following six brain regions: The specific role of each of the six main regions in episodic retrieval is still unclear, but some ideas have been suggested.
The right prefrontal cortex has been related to retrieval attempt;   the medial temporal lobes to conscious recollection;  the anterior cingulate to response selection;  the posterior midline region to imagery;     the inferior parietal to awareness of space;  and the cerebellum to self-initiated retrieval.
In recent research, a group of subjects was faced with remembering a list of items and then measured when trying to recall said items. The evoked potentials and hemodynamic activity measured during encoding were found to exhibit reliable differences between subsequently recalled and not recalled items.
This effect has been termed the subsequent memory effect SME. A study by Fernandez et al. The effect of attention on memory recall has surprising results. It seems that the only time attention largely affects memory is during the encoding phase.
During this phase, performing a parallel task can severely impair retrieval success. One's attention to words is impacted by emotion grasping vocabulary. Negative and positive words are better recalled than neutral words that are spoken. The groups were put into the same lecture halls and given the same speakers, but the results came back to determine that the inflection and word choice recalled by the listeners concluded that emotional words, phrases, and sounds are more memorable than neutral speakers.
Recall memory is linked with instincts and mechanisms. In order to remember how an event happened, to learn from it or avoid an agitator, connections are made with emotions.
For instance, if a speaker is very calm and neutral, the effectiveness of encoding memory is very low and listeners get the gist of what the speaker is discussing. Storage consists of retention of information over time. It is believed that we can accumulate information in three main storage areas that vary according to time frames: Retrieval is the process of getting information out of memory.
The ability to access and retrieve information from memory allows us to actually use these memories to make decisions, interact with others, and solve problems.
Because there is no need for us to remember everything we experience, the different stages of human memory function as a sort of filter. The first stage is Sensory Memory which holds information coming in through the senses for a period ranging from a fraction of a second to several seconds.
Information is held long enough to process. It can hold vast amount, but only briefly. The Sensory memory allows a visual image, a sound, or a touch to linger for a brief moment after the stimulation is over. That mental image or sensation is then stored in short-term memory. It is used to have conversations, solve problems, and remember to complete task.
The sensory memory retains an exact copy of what is seen or heard but it only lasts for a few seconds milliseconds after an item is perceived.
It has unlimited capacity, but information is stored very briefly in the sensory area. We attend to only certain aspects of sensory information, allowing some of this information to pass into the next stage which is short-term or working.
Visual sensory memory is called iconic memory , and auditory sensory is called echoic memory. Paying attention to sensory memories generates the information in short-term or Working memory.
How we encode information determines how it will be stored and what cues will be effective when we try to retrieve it. And too, the act of retrieval itself also changes the way information is subsequently remembered, usually aiding later recall of the retrieved information. The central point for now is that the three stages—encoding, storage, and retrieval—affect one another, and are inextricably bound together.
Encoding refers to the initial experience of perceiving and learning information. Psychologists often study recall by having participants study a list of pictures or words. Encoding in these situations is fairly straightforward. When you walk across campus, for example, you encounter countless sights and sounds—friends passing by, people playing Frisbee, music in the air. The physical and mental environments are much too rich for you to encode all the happenings around you or the internal thoughts you have in response to them.
So, an important first principle of encoding is that it is selective: A second point about encoding is that it is prolific; we are always encoding the events of our lives—attending to the world, trying to understand it. But if something does happen that seems strange—during your daily walk across campus, you see a giraffe—then we pay close attention and try to understand why we are seeing what we are seeing.
Right after your typical walk across campus one without the appearance of a giraffe , you would be able to remember the events reasonably well if you were asked. You could say whom you bumped into, what song was playing from a radio, and so on. However, suppose someone asked you to recall the same walk a month later.
You would likely be able to recount the basics of a typical walk across campus, but not the precise details of that particular walk. Yet, if you had seen a giraffe during that walk, the event would have been fixed in your mind for a long time, probably for the rest of your life. You would tell your friends about it, and, on later occasions when you saw a giraffe, you might be reminded of the day you saw one on campus. Psychologists have long pinpointed distinctiveness —having an event stand out as quite different from a background of similar events—as a key to remembering events Hunt, In addition, when vivid memories are tinged with strong emotional content, they often seem to leave a permanent mark on us.
Public tragedies, such as terrorist attacks, often create vivid memories in those who witnessed them. But even those of us not directly involved in such events may have vivid memories of them, including memories of first hearing about them. For example, many people are able to recall their exact physical location when they first learned about the assassination or accidental death of a national figure.
The term flashbulb memory was originally coined by Brown and Kulik to describe this sort of vivid memory of finding out an important piece of news. The name refers to how some memories seem to be captured in the mind like a flash photograph; because of the distinctiveness and emotionality of the news, they seem to become permanently etched in the mind with exceptional clarity compared to other memories. Take a moment and think back on your own life. Is there a particular memory that seems sharper than others?
A memory where you can recall unusual details, like the colors of mundane things around you, or the exact positions of surrounding objects? That is, even though people may have great confidence in what they recall, their memories are not as accurate e. Nonetheless, all other things being equal, distinctive and emotional events are well-remembered.
We might say that we went to a party and remember it, but what we remember is at best what we encoded. As noted above, the process of encoding is selective, and in complex situations, relatively few of many possible details are noticed and encoded. The process of encoding always involves recoding —that is, taking the information from the form it is delivered to us and then converting it in a way that we can make sense of it.
For example, you might try to remember the colors of a rainbow by using the acronym ROY G BIV red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. The process of recoding the colors into a name can help us to remember. However, recoding can also introduce errors—when we accidentally add information during encoding, then remember that new material as if it had been part of the actual experience as discussed below.
Psychologists have studied many recoding strategies that can be used during study to improve retention. This helps us form associations that we can use to retrieve information later. Creating imagery is part of the technique Simon Reinhard uses to remember huge numbers of digits, but we can all use images to encode information more effectively. Using study strategies such as the ones described here is challenging, but the effort is well worth the benefits of enhanced learning and retention.
We emphasized earlier that encoding is selective: However, recoding can add information that was not even seen or heard during the initial encoding phase. Several of the recoding processes, like forming associations between memories, can happen without our awareness. This is one reason people can sometimes remember events that did not actually happen—because during the process of recoding, details got added.
Participants hear lists of 15 words, like door, glass, pane, shade, ledge, sill, house, open, curtain, frame, view, breeze, sash, screen, and shutter. This second list contains some words from the first list e. In this example, one of the words on the test is window , which—importantly—does not appear in the first list, but which is related to other words in that list.
When subjects were tested, they were reasonably accurate with the studied words door , etc. The same thing happened with many other lists the authors used. One explanation for such results is that, while students listened to items in the list, the words triggered the students to think about window , even though window was never presented.
In this way, people seem to encode events that are not actually part of their experience. Because humans are creative, we are always going beyond the information we are given: But, as with the word association mix-up above, sometimes we make false memories from our inferences—remembering the inferences themselves as if they were actual experiences. To illustrate this, Brewer gave people sentences to remember that were designed to elicit pragmatic inferences.
Inferences, in general, refer to instances when something is not explicitly stated, but we are still able to guess the undisclosed intention. Consider the statement Brewer gave her participants: Nevertheless, the pragmatic conclusion from hearing such a sentence is that the block was likely broken.
Encoding—the initial registration of information—is essential in the learning and memory process. Unless an event is encoded in some fashion, it will not be successfully remembered later.
Every experience we have changes our brains. We encode each of our experiences within the structures of the nervous system, making new impressions in the process—and each of those impressions involves changes in the brain.
Psychologists and neurobiologists say that experiences leave memory traces , or engrams the two terms are synonyms. Memories have to be stored somewhere in the brain, so in order to do so, the brain biochemically alters itself and its neural tissue.
The basic idea is that events occurrences in our environment create engrams through a process of consolidation: Although neurobiologists are concerned with exactly what neural processes change when memories are created, for psychologists, the term memory trace simply refers to the physical change in the nervous system whatever that may be, exactly that represents our experience.
It is important to understand that memory traces are not perfect little packets of information that lie dormant in the brain, waiting to be called forward to give an accurate report of past experience. Memory traces are not like video or audio recordings, capturing experience with great accuracy; as discussed earlier, we often have errors in our memory, which would not exist if memory traces were perfect packets of information.
Rather, when we remember past events, we reconstruct them with the aid of our memory traces—but also with our current belief of what happened. For example, if you were trying to recall for the police who started a fight at a bar, you may not have a memory trace of who pushed whom first. When thinking back to the start of the fight, this knowledge of how one guy was friendly to you may unconsciously influence your memory of what happened in favor of the nice guy.
Thus, memory is a construction of what you actually recall and what you believe happened. In a phrase, remembering is reconstructive we reconstruct our past with the aid of memory traces not reproductive a perfect reproduction or recreation of the past.
Psychologists refer to the time between learning and testing as the retention interval. Memories can consolidate during that time, aiding retention. However, experiences can also occur that undermine the memory. For example, think of what you had for lunch yesterday—a pretty easy task. Retroactive interference refers to new activities i.
“Memory is the process of maintaining information over time. to the structures and processes involved in the storage and subsequent retrieval of information. May 22, The process of forming and retrieving memories is comprised of three distinct Sensory memory is the storage of information that lasts only. Memory retrieval is the process of remembering information stored in long-term memory. Some theorists suggests that there are three stores of memory: sensory .