Free Recall

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  • Tasks such as essays or fill-in-the-blank questions in which people are asked to recall information they have previously learned while having minimal retrieval cues to help their memory. In free recall, indi viduals are asked to recall as much as they can in any order they wish. In a serial recall, individuals are asked to recall items in a particular order, and in paired-associates recall, individuals are asked to recall previously memo rized pairs of items. Free recall tasks generally produce less accurate results than recognition tasks in which individuals are presented with more retrieval cues (e.g., seeing the correct answer among the choice of alternative answers in a multiple choice task). For more information, see Anderson (2000).

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