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4 Tutorials that teach Measuring Memory and Remembering
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Measuring Memory and Remembering

Measuring Memory and Remembering

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This lesson will define, explain and analyze the role of recall, serial position effect, recognition memory, and relearning in remembering.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

The lesson is going to look at the ways memory is measured by covering:

  1. Measuring Memory
  2. Recall
  3. Recognition
  4. Relearning

1. Measuring Memory

In the process of memory, information is taken in from outside of the world, encoded, and stored for later use. The measure of effective processing of information and memories is if they can be retrieved later on. Measuring memory involves how well a person can remember specific information.

ExampleWhen you are taking a test, you want to be able to remember all the facts that you studied. If you don’t, you haven’t processed the memories well.

It's important to note that memory isn't in an all-or-nothing process. It is possible to partially remember things. It's not just something that's taken in automatically, and formed in your mind.

ExampleDuring this test, you feel like you know an answer, but you can't quite remember the answer exactly. This is what's called the "tip of the tongue" experience. You know you have a memory, but you're not able to retrieve it.

How do you measure effectively how memory actually works? Well, there are a few different ways to do that, and they include:

  • Recall
  • Recognition
  • Relearning

2. RECALL

The first measure of effective formation of memories is recall. This is the direct retrieval of information. A person is able to reproduce the information that they learned. This is done in an exact, or verbatim, way. If you are able to reproduce the information, you remembered it correctly.

ExampleRepeating a song or a poem you learned; you would just say exactly what the words are.

Term to Know

  • Recall
  • Direct retrieval of information, where a person reproduces information learned.

If some memory, let's say that poem, is only partially remembered, then you can often reconstruct that information based on logic.

ExampleIf you are thinking back to your fifth birthday, and you don't have a specific memory of your mother being there, but you know that your mother was around in your life at that time then you would logically infer that your mother was there, even though you can't explicitly remember seeing her at that birthday.

This is a reason why, at times, there can be problems with the recall of certain events. Because a person is able to piece information together, sometimes incorrect assumptions can be made about that memory.

When recalling something like a list of information, there's a certain phenomenon, where a person can usually remember the first and the last items of something better than the middle items. This is the serial position effect. This occurs because recall can be a very difficult process to accurately and exactly recount everything from memory on your own.

Term to Know

  • Serial Position Effect
  • When recalling a list of information, a person usually remembers the first and last items best.

3. Recognition

A more sensitive sort of process that's easier for people is recognition. Recognition is being able to recognize information that was previously stored inside your mind.

ExampleThis test you are taking has multiple choice options. You can recognize the correct choice which is easier that recall.

Term to Know

  • Recognition
  • Being able to recognize information that was previously stored to retrieve information.

It's important to note that this can lead to certain ideas of false recognition.

Example In  eyewitness accounts of crimes with people in a line up, you are more likely to think that you recognize a person even if the person you are actually looking for isn’t there.


4. Relearning

Relearning is the most sensitive process of remembering. Relearning means that a person tries to learn information that they had previously learned.

ExampleAs a child, you might have learned what the 50 states were, and then later on in other life, you attempt to relearn what all of those 50 states are. It will take a shorter amount of time to learn that information than somebody who's learning it for the first time.

Term to Know

  • Relearning
  • Retrieval of memory where a person attempts to learn information that they have previously learned.

Summary

The measure of memory depends on how easily and accurately information is retrieved later on. Memory is not an all-or-nothing process. There are three different ways to measure memory. Recall is the ability to retrieve and reproduce information exactly.  Recognition is when you are able to recognize information you had previously stored. Relearning is when you must learn, and store information again, but it takes you less time because you have learned it before.

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia author Erick Taggart.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Recall

    Direct retrieval of information, where a person reproduces information learned.

  • Serial Position Effect

    When recalling a list of information, a person usually remembers the first and last items best.

  • Recognition

    Being able to recognize information that was previously stored to retrieve information.

  • Relearning

    Retrieval of memory where a person attempts to learn information that they have previously learned.