Essay on Free Recall and Memory

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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 …show more content…
Theoretically, the primacy effect represents recall from long-term memory and the recency effect represent recall from short-term memory (Ashcraft, 2010). In general, people will have better memories for recency effect than primacy effect. However, if people recall the first few items first, then the primacy effect will be greater than the recency effect. Thus it is important to know and understand how we remember such things so we can effectively recall them when necessary. Typically, we are not required to remember the exact order or position in which items were presented when recalling them. Stigler reported that a physicist Francis Nipher has first documented the serial position effect when he noted that he was better able to remember the first few and last few graphs and figures that were presented in a physics paper. Therefore, the initial observations on serial position effect may be owing to metacogitive judgment about the recallability of items in a series (Castel, 2008). Besides this, prior research has also demonstrated that serial recall is dependent on age. When performing free recall tasks, young adults tend to begin recall with items appearing at the end of the lists (Howard & Kahana, 1999). In the immediate serial recall tasks (ISR), performance on ISR is characterized by extended primacy effects and small recency effects (Tan, 2008). Serial position effect is expected to generalize
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