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Two-Process Theory

 

Explanations > Memory > Two-Process Theory

Description | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

Recall works by a two-stage process:

  1. A search through memory for something that might satisfy the search criteria.
  2. A comparison of recalled memory with the detail of which being sought.

Recognition works only by a single process, where the stimulus leads to a memory already being found. Recognition thus only needs the second step from the two-stage recall process.

This makes recognition more likely to be successful as compared with recall.

Discussion

Bahrick (1970) found cued recall was predictable by multiplying the probability of free-association recall and the probability of recognition.

So what?

If you want someone to remember something, it is always better to get them to recognize it rather than wait for them to recall it. So show them and let them say 'that's it!'.

See also

Bahrick H.P. (1970). Two-phase model for prompted recall. Psychological Review, 77, 215-222

 

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