Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 524–528

Spatial recall improved by retrieval enactment

Brief Reports

DOI: 10.3758/PBR.16.3.524

Cite this article as:
Jones, G.V. & Martin, M. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (2009) 16: 524. doi:10.3758/PBR.16.3.524


Evidence from studies of intentional learning suggests that the accuracy of recall is not assisted by appropriate enactment at retrieval, as opposed to encoding. In the present study, long-term recall of spatial arrays following incidental learning (text messaging or calculator use) was tested under three different motor conditions at retrieval. For both letter and number arrays, the accuracy of recall was found to be improved by relevant enactment at the time of retrieval, relative to retrieval with no movement. In contrast, irrelevant movement was found to produce an impairment in accuracy. The overall accuracy of recalling a letter array was found to be a power-law function of the frequency of exposure to the array. The findings are discussed in terms of the hypothesis that appropriate movement during memory retrieval recruits egocentric representations that supplement allocentric representations subserving longer term spatial recall.

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© The Psychonomic Society, Inc 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordEngland
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WarwickCoventryEngland