Reflections of the Environment in Memory

John R. Anderson, Lael Schooler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

605 Scopus citations

Abstract

Availability of human memories for specific items shows reliable relationships to frequency, recency, and pattern of prior exposures to the item. These relationships have defied a systematic theoretical treatment. A number of environmental sources (New York Times, parental speech, electronic mail) are examined to show that the probability that a memory will be needed also shows reliable relationships to frequency, recency, and pattern of prior exposures. Moreover, the environmental relationships are the same as the memory relationships. It is argued that human memory has the form it does because it is adapted to these environmental relationships. Models for both the environment and human memory are described. Among the memory phenomena addressed are the practice function, the retention function, the effect of spacing of practice, and the relationship between degree of practice and retention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-408
Number of pages13
JournalPsychological Science
Volume2
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Reflections of the Environment in Memory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this