Skip to main content

Free Recall

  • Reference work entry

Synonyms

Free order recall; Recall testing

Definition

In the free recall task, a participant recalls a list of items in any order. This task resembles memorizing items on a shopping list. Assume your list includes the items milk, bananas, hamburgers, cheese, apples, and peanuts. Trying to recall the list without constraint of order represents free recall.

Current Knowledge

Because the requirement of ordering the items is absent, free recall is usually easier for participants than serial recall. Dropping the order requirement gives participants a wider pool of strategies of retrieving the items. One strategy is grouping or clustering the items according to similar attributes, e.g., semantic relatedness. Accordingly items would be grouped in your recall protocol, e.g., bananas, apples, milk, and cheese.

Another strategy is the distinctiveness strategy. Because the first and last items have no boundary items, they tend to be more distinctive, thus giving them a retrieval advantage. The...

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-79948-3_1124
  • Chapter length: 2 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   1,350.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-0-387-79948-3
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   1,499.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

References and Readings

  • Emilien, G., Durlach, C., Minaker, K., Winblad, B., Gauthier, S., & Maloteaux, J. -M. (2003). Alzheimer disease: Neuropsychology and pharmacology. New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thompson, R. F., & Madigan, S. A. (2005). Memory: The key to consciousness. Washington, DC: Henry Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

About this entry

Cite this entry

Haberlandt, K. (2011). Free Recall. In: Kreutzer, J.S., DeLuca, J., Caplan, B. (eds) Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79948-3_1124

Download citation