ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (3): 349-363.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.00349

• Editor-In-Chief Invited •     Next Articles

The Determinant Factor of Memory Performance: Cue Overload, Encoding-retrieval Match and Memory-as-discrimination

BAI Xuejun1; LIU Tuanli1,2; XING Min2; GONG Yanbin1   

  1. (1 Academy of Psychology and Behavior, Collaborative Innovation Center for National Mental Health Assessment and Promotion, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin 300074, China) (2 School of Education Science, Xinyang Normal University, Xinyang 464000, China)
  • Received:2013-10-10 Online:2015-03-15 Published:2015-03-15
  • Contact: LIU Tuanli, E-mail:; BAI Xuejun, E-mail:


One of the most fundamental questions that research on human cognition has to answer is what determines our memory performance. The cue overload hypothesis states that as the number of items in memory associated with a cue increases, the effectiveness of the cue declines, while the encoding–retrieval match hypothesis states that memory performance depends on the extent to which encoded retrieval information matches the to-be-recalled representation. Both hypotheses mentioned above attracted attention of the researchers in different times. Based on the previous researches, the new perspective of memory as discrimination was proposed. Memory as discrimination perspective states that what really determines the probability of recall is the degree to which a cue is uniquely associated with a target, to the exclusion of other potential retrieval candidates, which offers a new sight to the question of ‘what determines our memory performance’. Future research should be engaged in testing this new perspective multifaceted, meanwhile, adopting new technology should be promoted.

Key words: cue overload, encoding-retrieval match, memory-as-discrimination