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What is the definition of context-dependent memory?

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Quick Answer

A context-dependent memory is a memory that may be easier to retrieve if a person is in the same place during both memory encoding (or storage) and recall. This means that if a piece of information is stored in the brain under specific conditions, such as a classroom, it is easier to remember if it's recalled in the same classroom.

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Full Answer

The theory of context-dependent memory is based on the idea that if people learn or experience something in a specific setting or under certain conditions (context), it will be easier for them to recall that information (memory) if they are experiencing the context in which they first stored the memory. That is, the memory depends on context. This is an issue in several areas of academia. For example, medical school professors are concerned with student recall ability of context-dependent memories when students learn concepts in a classroom that they will then have to apply in a setting such as an operating theater.

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