Note that such recoding or reorganization of information is one way in which our general world knowledge (general rules or principles, facts, etc.) may derive from our ongoing experience. Memory for particular sequences of our own experiences (episodic memory) and memory for general knowledge (semantic memory) may simply reflect different levels or forms of organization rather than different memoir speeds.
We mentioned earlier that stimuli that were present when something was originally learned (encoded) may later serve as effective recall cues a phenomenon Tulving (1978) called encoding specificity. If as you originally learned something you organized it into categories and thought about those category names, the names might later serve as useful recall cues. For example, suppose you were asked to remember the list of foods
in the margin of this article. After looking at the list for a few moments you would probably notice that it contains the names of three fruits, three vegetables, and three meats.
Thus you could reorganize it to reflect this structure, as show in a later article. In attempting to recall the list, you could first retrieve a category name, which then according to encoding specificity, would serve as a cue for the recall of items in that category.
Your understanding of a story’s structure (see my public profile) might aid recall in a very similar fashion. In thinking about the story structure, you could develop more elaborate codes (schemas, scripts) to characterize the story-for example: “There were four main scenes in the story-the setting, crises, solution, and reward.” This code, which would probably be easier to recall than the details of the story, could serve as a cue for recalling these details just as did the category names (fruits, vegetables and meats) in the preceding examples.
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