A temporal ratio model of memory

Psychol Rev. 2007 Jul;114(3):539-76. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.114.3.539.


A model of memory retrieval is described. The model embodies 4 main claims: (a) temporal memory--traces of items are represented in memory partly in terms of their temporal distance from the present; (b) scale-similarity--similar mechanisms govern retrieval from memory over many different timescales; (c) local distinctiveness--performance on a range of memory tasks is determined by interference from near psychological neighbors; and (d) interference-based forgetting--all memory loss is due to interference and not trace decay. The model is applied to data on free recall and serial recall. The account emphasizes qualitative similarity in the retrieval principles involved in memory performance at all timescales, contrary to models that emphasize distinctions between short-term and long-term memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention*
  • Humans
  • Mental Recall*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Retention, Psychology*
  • Serial Learning