Foundations Of Cognitive Science

Recall Phase

The recall phase is a phase of use of a distributed memory in which previously stored information is retrieved from the system.  During the recall phase, a cue pattern is used to activate the input units.  This causes signals to be sent through the connections in the network.  These signals are equal to the activation value of an input unit multiplied by the weight of the connection through which the activity is being transmitted.  These signals are used by the output processors to compute their net input, which is simply the sum of all of the incoming signals.  In the standard pattern associator, an output unit’s activity is equal to its net input.  If the memory is functioning properly, then the pattern of activation in the output units will be the pattern that was originally associated with the cue pattern.  Note that the existence of a recall phase in using a distributed memory is an example of tacit, external and centralized control of the network: an external user treats the memory differently during its learning phase than during its recall phase (Dawson & Schopflocher, 1992).


  1. Dawson, M. R. W., & Schopflocher, D. P. (1992). Autonomous processing in PDP networks. Philosophical Psychology, 5, 199-219.

(Added April 2011)