Cognition and Motor Skill Acquisition: Contextual Dependencies Chapter uri icon


  • Every day we perform skilled activities in environments that are comprised of a wide variety of stimuli that we do not explicitly identify as important to successful completion of an intended action. Nevertheless, it appears that the environmental contexts in which we perform can exert powerful influences on our ability to retrieve and process information. For example, the seemingly “absent-minded” professor is sometimes caught off-guard when outside of the classroom setting he or she is confronted by a student in his or her class. In this situation it is not unusual for the professor to appear embarrassed by his or her inability to recall the student’s name or even recognize the student. Upon the professor’s return to class, however, the student’s name is easily recalled. In this case, reinstating the context associated with the student (the classroom) facilitated the retrieval of a specific memory (the student’s name).

author list (cited authors)

  • Wright, D. L., & Shea, C. H.

editor list (cited editors)

  • Reynolds, C. R.

Book Title

  • Cognitive Assessment

publication date

  • January 1, 1994 11:11 AM