DOI: 10.1101/510750Jan 3, 2019Paper

Fundamental Law of Memory Recall

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Michelangelo NaimMisha Tsodyks


Free recall of random lists of words is a standard paradigm used to probe human memory. We proposed an associative search process that can be reduced to a deterministic walk on random graphs defined by the structure of memory representations. The corresponding graph model is different from the ones considered in the past but still can be solved analytically, resulting in a novel parameter-free prediction for the average number of memory items recalled (RC) out of M items in memory: RC = √(3π M/2). This prediction was verified with a specially designed experimental protocol combining large-scale crowd-sourced free recall and recognition experiments with randomly assembled lists of words or common facts. Our theoretical and experimental results indicate that memory recall operates according to a stereotyped search process common to all people.

Related Concepts

Mental Recall
Memory Process
Memory Recall
Research Study
Cortinarius foetens

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