Copyright by Jeff Johnson

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Chapter 9. Recognition is Easy; Recall is Hard

Chapter 7 described the strengths and limitations of long-term memory and their implications for the design of interactive systems. This chapter extends that discussion by describing important differences between two functions of long-term memory: recognition and recall.

Recognition is Easy

The human brain was “designed,” through millions of years of natural selection and evolution, to recognize things quickly. By contrast, recalling memories, i.e., retrieving them without perceptual support, must not have been as crucial for survival, because our brains are much worse at that.

Remember how our long-term memory works (see Chapter 7): perceptions enter through our sensory systems, and their signals, on ...

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