Scientific Understanding of Consciousness
Ability to discriminate among memories decreases as the memories become more remote. (Baddeley; Working Memory, 106)
Recency effect -- extending from seconds to years. Probably of recalling an item = discrimination ratio = (Time between item presentation and the nearest competitor)/(Time interval between item presentation and recall time) (Baddeley; Working Memory, 104)
Recency effect is one of the most stable and reliable phenomena within the study of human memory. (Baddeley; Working Memory, 115)
Recency effect is what allows us to orient ourselves in time and space. (Baddeley; Working Memory, 115)
Recency effect is what provides the reference on which our location in the present and projection into the future can be founded. (Baddeley; Working Memory, 115)
Without the recency mechanism, we would have great difficulty knowing where we are in time. (Baddeley; Working Memory, 115)
Recency Effect in Daily Life
(paraphrase, Baddeley; Working Memory, 114)
Remembering where you parked your car appears to benefit from recency, as does remembering your hotel room when traveling. When you wake up in the morning in a hotel room in a city you have never visited before, how do you know where you are? You use the recency strategy, probably beginning by recalling the previous evening and using that to construct a pattern of activities over the past few days. That in turn can be fitted into a nested set of frameworks, extending at a whole series of levels, both specific, such as the reason for your journey, and more generally, your career, family and indeed whole life history.
(end of paraphrase)
The recency effect relates to our ability to resolve individual events in the remote past. We can resolve and remember activities that we did this morning, but our ability to resolve individual activities decreases with activities last week or last month.
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