The Primary and Convergent Retrieval Model of Recall


Memory models typically assume that recall is a two-stage process with learning affecting both processes to the same degree. This equal learning assumption is difficult to reconcile with studies of the 'testing effect', which reveal different forgetting rates following learning from test practice versus learning from restudy. Here we present a new memory model, termed Primary and Convergent Retrieval (PCR) that assumes successful recall leads to a selective enhancement for the second stage of recall (Convergent Retrieval). We applied this model to existing testing effect data. In two new experiments, we confirmed novel predictions of the PCR model for transfer between retrieval cues and for recall latencies. This is the first formally specified model of the testing effect and it has broad implications for the nature of learning and retrieval.

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