Contiguity of Associations: Exploring the Link Between Proximity and Memory
The idea that proximity can influence memory is not a new one. In fact, the concept of contiguity of associations has been studied extensively for centuries, with notable contributions from the likes of Aristotle, Locke, and Hume. This concept suggests that people tend to remember information better when it is presented in close proximity to one another. In this article, we will explore the history of this concept, examine the various empirical evidence that supports it, and discuss its implications for memory and cognition.
The concept of contiguity of associations can be traced back to the works of Aristotle, who argued that a person’s memory is affected by the proximity of the items that are being remembered. He suggested that items that are close to one another are easier to remember than items that are not in close proximity. This idea was later expanded upon by John Locke and David Hume, who both argued that contiguity influences the ability to recall information.
Numerous studies have been conducted to examine the contiguity of associations and its effect on memory. In a study conducted by Hall (1930), participants were asked to remember a list of numbers. He found that when the numbers were grouped together, participants were more likely to remember them than when the numbers were presented randomly. In another study by Gurwitz and Siegel (1956), participants were shown a list of words and asked to recall them in order. They found that when the words were presented in close proximity to one another, participants were more likely to recall them correctly.
These studies suggest that contiguity of associations can have a significant impact on memory. In addition, other studies have shown that contiguity of associations can have an effect on cognitive processes such as decision-making and problem-solving. For instance, a study by Schwarz and Clore (1983) found that when decisions were made in close proximity to one another, participants were more likely to make the same decision.
The concept of contiguity of associations has important implications for the study of memory and cognition. The evidence suggests that proximity can influence the ability to recall information and to make decisions. This has important implications for the design of educational materials, as well as for the way in which information is presented to individuals. For instance, it may be beneficial to present information in close proximity to one another in order to facilitate better recall and comprehension.
In summary, the concept of contiguity of associations has a long history in the study of memory and cognition. Numerous studies have found evidence to support the idea that proximity can influence memory and decision-making. This has important implications for the way in which information is presented to individuals. Ultimately, this research suggests that proximity can be used to enhance memory and cognitive processes.
Hall, H. S. (1930). Association by contiguity. American Journal of Psychology, 42(2), 279-287.
Gurwitz, M. S., & Siegel, A. W. (1956). Contiguity of associations in short-term memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 52(3), 189–194.
Schwarz, N., & Clore, G. L. (1983). Mood, misattribution, and judgments of well-being: Informative and directive functions of affective states. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45(3), 513–523.