Free Recall and Memory Essay

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In daily life, memory is used all the time. When we go to buy things, we would remember the list of items what we are going to buy. At school, we would also need to have revision in order to remember the materials for examination. Or even, when we meet friends, we would also need to recall their names. Thus it is important to know and understand how we remember such things so that we can effectively recall them when necessary. Obviously, we do not need to remember the exact position or order of things in daily life. We would have our own pattern for remember and retrieve information (Ashcraft, 2010). This is named as free recall, which items recalled in any order (Francis, Neath, MacKewn and Goldthwaite, 2004). However, many researchers found that the probability of recalling items (such as words, letters, or numbers) does in fact depend on the items position in a list. The most striking finding is that words at the beginning and end of the list are often easier to recall than those words in the middle of the list. Thus, when the results of a free recall experiment are plotted on a graph; a u-shaped serial position curve can be obtained. This is often referred to as the serial position effect that is affecting our memory (Smith, n.d.).
In the early primacy portion of the serial position effect, there was a direct positive relationship between the frequency of rehearsal and the probability of recall. That is to say, the primacy effect was entirely dependent on rehearsal. The early items can be rehearsed more, and thus recalled better. The recency effect, was viewed as recall from short-term memory, which is why they were recalled so well even if being rehearsed so little (Ashcraft, 2010). The improved recall for the words at the ...

... middle of paper ... conditions; while people will usually prefer options presented earlier for undesirable conditions (Epley, 2009). A patient of H. M. case study shown the multi-store model. H.M. who was unable to make new long term memories but whose short-term memories remain unaffected. It shows that there are separate long-term and short-term stores (Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968).
Serial recall in forward order shows a large primacy effect and relatively small recency. Backward serial recall shows larger, recency and smaller primacy than recall in forward order (Oberauer, 2003). TV commercials also demonstrate the serial position effect. Audiences will remember better the first few ads and last few ads better, mostly forget the commercials at the middle. This will not be true only if the commercials at the middle are distinctive, that can isolate from the others (Terry, 2005).

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