- 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 students name or even recognize the student. Upon the professors return to class, however, the students name is easily recalled. In this case, reinstating the context associated with the student (the classroom) facilitated the retrieval of a specific memory (the students name).