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(Redirected to Recall (memory) article)

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bananas discussing memory, recall is the act of retrieving from long term memory a specific incident, fact or other item. A temporary failure to retrieve information from memory is known as the tip of the tongue phenomenon. Various means, including metacognitive strategies, priming, and measures of retention may be employed to improve later recall of a memory.


Types of recollection

Recollection often requires prompting (as in stimulus or clues) to assist the mind in retrieving the information sought. There are three types of recall:

  • Free recall: when no clues are given to assist retrieval
  • Serial recall: when items are recalled in a particular order
  • Cued recall: when some clues are given to assist retrieval


The ability to recognize what is known is usually superior to the ability to recall it. Examples abound:

  • We know a person's face, but his name eludes us.
  • People are more likely to recognize a suspect in a police line-up (or a book of mug shots) than to provide an accurate description from recall memory.
  • It is easier to answer multiple-choice questions than essay questions because the correct answer may be recognized.

For possible exceptions, see Tulving's work on episodic memory.


Another means of remembering is through relearning. Relearned information may return quickly, even if it hasn't been used for many years. For example:

  • Relearning a language not spoken since schooldays.
  • Riding a bike after not using one since childhood.

The number of successive trials a learner takes to reach a specified level of proficiency may be compared with the number of trials needed later to attain the same level. This yields a measure of retention. Relearning may be the most efficient way of remembering information ( Ebbinghaus, 1885).

Relative sensitivity of measures of retention

Sensitivity refers to the ability to assess the amount of information that has been stored in memory. Research suggests that recall is the least sensitive measure of retention, relearning is the most sensitive and recognition is in between (Nelson, 1978).

Plato and Socrates on recollection

Plato can be said to have believed that humans learn entirely through recollection. He thought that humans already possessed knowledge, and that they only had to be led to discover what they already knew. In the Meno, Plato used the character of Socrates to ask a slave boy questions in an excellent demonstration of the Socratic method until the slave boy came to understand a square root without Socrates providing him with any information.

After witnessing the example with the slave boy, Meno tells Socrates that he thinks that Socrates is correct in his theory of recollection, to which Socrates replies, “I think I am. I shouldn’t like to take my oath on the whole story, but one thing I am ready to fight for as long as I can, in word and act—that is, that we shall be better, braver, and more active men if we believe it right to look for what we don’t know...” (Meno, 86b).




Recognition is one of the three basic memory tasks. It involves identifying objects or events that have been encountered before.

Recognition (re+cognition) is a process that occurs in thinking when some event, process, pattern, or object recurs; a knowledge or feeling that someone or something present has been encountered before. Coming from the base cognition; cognition has various uses in different fields of study and has generally accepted to be used for the process of awareness or thought.

In psychology, cognition is used for information processing view of a person's psychological functions. This takes place as we process the stimuli with previous memories and experiences and find relationships between the current stimuli and our memories.

Thus, in order for something to be recognized, it must be familiar. This recurrence allows the recognizer to more properly react, survival value. Recognition is a survival mechanism. Humans and animals will recognize certain foods, which are poisonous through taste, as they have tasted them before. This works also for sounds and alarms, which we are trained to react to such as fire alarms.

Without we would go through life reliving everything without learning from the past. Experiences would be pointless, as they would not be remembered.

Recognition is the easiest of the memory tasks. Thats is why multiple-choice tests are often considered easier than other tests. In multiple-choice tests, you only need to recognize the right answer. You do not have to come up with the answer on your own. Recognition uses the memories we have in place to help with the situation, which the person(s) is going through in the present. When the recognizer has correctly responded, this is a measure of understanding.


Also animals have the ability to recognize and imitate actions. For example, when some animals have never seen a human being before, they do not hide and they show no fear; but when they learn that a human being may be a threat, they may emit distress cries, flee or hide. Baby spiders will flee when a mother spider sends a sharp pulse along the spider web. A male spider will gently poke a female spider's web to assess whether it is safe or not without being killed himself. “Even non-mammals can recognize when a situation signals danger, and will flee or hide.” As an example of recognition the article discusses how not only humans are subject to recognition but animals also recognize characteristics and figures. The National Geographic includes an article, which involves animal’s ability to recognize and imitate actions. This can be seen, as dogs will bark at strangers or when they sense something different in their surroundings. In a forest-fire animals will sense the smoke and flee in the opposite direction. The following quote is an example of what animals have been studied doing. As “sheep can recognize faces; chimpanzees use a variety of tools to probe termite mounds and even use weapons to hunt small mammals.” We also see birds building nests with twigs and other small sticks and leafs, this too can be seen as tools used to build.


Recognition is the "formal acknowledgment of the political existence of a government or nation" (taken from the Webster’s Dictionary), as two countries acknowledge each other as independent states or possibly together in the same alliance.


"In Philosophy, recognition became very important in the young Hegel's attempt at understanding the emergence of self-consciousness. Lack of recognition can also be attributed as alienation.” The work done by Hegel is brought into recognition, as it is a philosophical view. It is slightly hard to interpret all of what is to be said in the sentence but the last part of his work involves alienation as the lack of recognition. This is the absence of recurring subject.

Molecular biology

Not all recognition is dealing with human interpretation of their surrounding stimulus but also takes place within the body’s cells. This type of recognition cannot be seen with the naked eye but can be witnessed with a microscope with a high enough magnification. “Recognition, in molecular biology and immunology, refers to the process for an enzyme or antibody to find its target, a specific short nucleotide or protein sequence.” This definition is a different meaning to the word recognition as it speaks on a molecular level. It is involving the cells in the body and the enzyme activity. This involves how “Enzyme-mononucleotide interactions: Three different folds share common structural elements for ATP recognition.”

See also

External links

Simple English

Recognition, or recognize, is when humans or animals familiarize the surrounding objects or beings as an enemy, friend, dangerous, or harmless. These cognitive acts relate to the beings' perception, memory, learning, and experience in their environment.

Pattern recognition in software

In computer programs, pattern recognition helps computers to distinguish objects, images, fingerprints, writing, audio, faces and others automatically. Pattern recognition tries to teach computers to perceive and recognize things as accurate as possible to how people do it or better.


When a country recognizes another country, it means that the first country believes that the second country is legal and has a right to be a country. Countries that recognize each other have diplomatic relations. That means they send diplomats to each other, and make different kinds of agreements, about trade, international laws and other things.


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