Memory involves fascinating and complicated processes. Learn the basics of two of the major ways we access information from the past, and what challenges we face in retaining everything we learn.
Have you ever had the name of someone on the tip of your tongue but just can't seem to get it? Then, someone helps you out and tells you who it is. 'Of course!' you say, wondering why you couldn't quite summon the memory when you tried.
This lesson will help you to understand your memory in a bit more depth, focusing on two processes: recognition and recall. You'll also think about what can interfere with retrieving those memories.
Recognition involves recognizing information you've experienced in the past, often based on a trigger or cue. So, if you were to watch this video lesson again a month from now, you might say, 'Hey, I remember this information' because it's familiar and jogs your memory.
The multiple-choice quiz you will take at the end of this lesson is also a time when you will use recognition as a way of accessing information from the past. You can remember this type of memory retrieval process by thinking about how the word 'recognition' is related to the word 'recognize,' like when you recognize the right choice among the answers in the quiz.
Recognition is different than the retrieval process called recall. Recall involves remembering information from long-term memory, often without triggers or cues.
So, on some random day a month from now, your friend says to you, 'You've studied psychology. Can you tell me about some different processes of memory?' You don't have the triggers to help you recognize past information. You have to access information in your memory through the more difficult process of recall.
You can have an easier time with making use of this lesson if you have a trigger to help you remember the terms, which will make the process of remembering more like recognition rather than recall. This is why I'll recommend thinking of recall as something that can occur less speedily, or even at a crawl, compared with recognition.
Recognition can happen more quickly because you can compare information you're experiencing in the moment, with something from the past. Recall requires you to summon information yourself from the depths of your memory; a slower, more complicated process.
So, imagine you can't remember a person's name you just met recently at a party. You were introduced just a short time ago, and yet their name seems to have been forgotten. What's gone wrong? Sometimes the answer is interference. Interference occurs when we have trouble remembering a certain piece of information due to other information we've been given.
For example, let's say that the person whose name you can't remember is actually a guy named Bob. After you met Bob, you met Julio, and then Grason. Meeting Julio and Grason could have interfered with you remembering Bob's name because of the multiple pieces of new information about several people at once. The opposite could occur too, where you remember Bob and Julio's name, but somehow find it hard to remember Grason, as though you were overloaded with information and couldn't take any more in at that point.
You also might have found that earlier in the lesson, you had grasped the idea of our first term, recognition, but then had trouble remembering it when we started talking about recall. The same type of interference can happen if you move out of your parents' home, for instance. When you go back, somehow you have a hard time remembering where things are compared with where you keep them in your new home.
The lesson summary we have at the end of the lesson is meant to help with interference by repeating the information in short bites to fill in the gaps that may have occurred from interference. This repetition will also make it more likely that you will recognize and even recall information about this topic in the future.
Recognition involves recognizing information you have experienced in the past, often based on a trigger or cue. This process is considered much less involved than recall, or remembering information from long-term memory, often without triggers or cues.
You can rely more on recognition when you complete the multiple-choice quiz at the end of the lesson because you will recognize some of the answers based on what you've learned. The more difficult process of recall will be required if a friend asks you to describe what you know about this topic. Recall will take place more slowly and even at a crawl.
Sometimes interference makes these processes more difficult. Interference occurs when we have trouble remembering a certain piece of information due to other information we've been given, like when you meet multiple new people at once.
When you are done, you should be able to:
- Explain how recognition and recall work and compare the two processes
- Recall what interference in memory processes is