Self-Generated Memory Cues: Effective Tools for Learning, Training, and Remembering

Jonathan G. Tullis, Jason R. Finley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


People generate a variety of memory cues, such as mnemonic devices and to-do lists, to support memory for difficult information. Self-generated memory cues make difficult information understandable, create links to long-term memory, and ultimately support later retrieval. The primary challenge is generating a cue that is memorable across environmental and mental contexts. Yet, self-generated cues are more effective at supporting retrieval than normative (generic) cues because they are tied to personal experiences, distinctive, and strongly associated to the target information. The effectiveness of self-generated cues can be improved by training people in cue generation, by instructing people to generate stable cues, by combining cue generation with other beneficial strategies, and by using technology to support the creation and memory of the cues. People use their privileged access to their mental states and prior knowledge to flexibly generate memory cues that bolster their memory—useful for students, trainees, elders, and everyone else.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalPolicy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • memory cues
  • metacognition
  • mnemonic devices
  • self-generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Administration


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-Generated Memory Cues: Effective Tools for Learning, Training, and Remembering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this