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Context effects on memory retrieval. Theory and applications

14 September 2009

PhD ceremony: L. van Maanen, 13.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Thesis: Context effects on memory retrieval. Theory and applications

Promotor(s): prof. L.R.B. Schomaker

Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences


Memory is one of the most important capacities of human cognition. This capacity is not only important for remembering factual information or for learning new skills, but memory is also important in many daily activities. For example, when holding a conversation it is important to recall the meaning of the words. Also, to recognize and name objects in the world it is important to recall the names of those objects. The thesis “Context Effects on Memory Retrieval: Theory and Applications” by Leendert van Maanen introduces a new theory of memory in which memory is considered as only a stage during the (much broader) execution of a task. After all, recognition is never a goal in itself, but is always executed in the context of a certain task. The computer implementation of the memory theory described in this thesis enables us to provide exact predictions of what people will remember in a certain situation, and how long the process of recall takes. Besides more insight in the relationship between memory and other aspects of task execution the theory has been applied to develop so called “user models” as well. User models are often employed in Artificial Intelligence to gain insight in the behavior of users of certain computer programs. Based on the general models of memory described in this thesis individual user models were developed that assist the user with finding relevant information, such as finding relevant scientific literature.


Last modified:15 September 2017 3.39 p.m.

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