Recognition and Recall

Have you ever encountered someone you thought you knew but couldn’t remember their name? Then, shortly after their names pops into your head. You are using both recognition and recall in this situation. You are using recognition when you realize the persons physical appearance or voice matches one that is previously stored in your memory. This is called a cue. On the other hand, you are recalling information when you suddenly remember that persons name. In recognition, sensory cues act as an aid in memory retrieval. When some one is using recognition, they are matching a current cue with one stored somewhere in their brain. It acts similar to a mental filling cabinet. When you receive a certain stimulus, your brain opens the filling cabinet and searches for the correct folder that matches the stimulus. A common instance in which recognition is used is on a multiple choice test. You have a list of possible answers and must select the correct one. Some of theses words look more familiar then others thus helping in retrieval. While recognition and recall are similar, recalling is a form of memory retrieval that lacks the aid of a specific cue. When taking a fill-in-the-blank or essay test, you have to retrieve the answer from stored memory without a cue. These tests are typically harder as it tends to be easier to recognize answers than to recall them. Trouble recalling information results in something known as the Tip-of-the-Tongue phenomenon. This is where you feel as if you know the word, but you just can’t say it. Sometimes people go as far as remembering the first letter or how many letters are in the word, but cannot completely retrieve it. Recall and recognition are two very important aspects of memory retrieval that are used in our every day life.

2 thoughts on “Recognition and Recall

  1. Sarah Ann Sullivan

    Recognition and Recall are a very important piece in memory. The first thing you talked about with the names I believe is relatable to not all but most people at Penn State considering we go to school with 40,000 students. I know with me at least, I am meeting new people everyday and actually processing their name into memory is difficult. After I have met someone and I will usually see them somewhere again on campus but I usually forget their name but recognize the face. It will bother me all day, I try to remember where I may have seen or met the person last and finally it will all click and sometimes I will recall their name.

  2. kak5827

    While reading your blog post I could not help but think of my dad, especially the first sentence. He is literally the worst person when it comes to remembering peoples names. He has a horrible sense of recognition and recall. My family and I always make fun of him for it. Sometimes he will be on the right track and spit a name out that kind of sounds like it, kind of like tip of the tongue phenomenon. It will be right there but he just can’t come up with the correct name.

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