Similar to the forgetting curve, Ebbinghaus conducted a series of studies to determine recall accuracy as a function of word position on a list. One finding from Ebbinghaus’ studies is what has been coined as the “recency effect” which is the improved recall of words at the end of a list. Ebbinghaus determined that we tend to remember the words at the end of a list because words are still stored in short term memory. The recency effect (and primacy effect – to be explained in another post by Brielle) have been used to dissociate between short term and long term memory. Interestingly, the recency effect can be extinguished by adding a delay between the end of the list reading and the recall test phase.
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