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Evidence from studies of intentional learning suggests that the accuracy of recall is not assisted by appropriate enactment at retrieval, as opposed to encoding. In the present study, long-term recall of spatial arrays following incidental learning (text messaging or calculator use) was tested under three different motor conditions at retrieval. For both letter and number arrays, the accuracy of recall was found to be improved by relevant enactment at the time of retrieval, relative to retrieval with no movement. In contrast, irrelevant movement was found to produce an impairment in accuracy. The overall accuracy of recalling a letter array was found to be a power-law function of the frequency of exposure to the array. The findings are discussed in terms of the hypothesis that appropriate movement during memory retrieval recruits egocentric representations that supplement allocentric representations subserving longer term spatial recall.

Original publication




Journal article


Psychon Bull Rev

Publication Date





524 - 528


Adolescent, Attention, Cell Phones, Female, Humans, Male, Mental Recall, Orientation, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Practice (Psychology), Psychomotor Performance, Recognition (Psychology), Retention (Psychology), Young Adult