The first research experiments on human memory were started by Ebbinghaus one hundred years ago. He developed a number of simple memory tasks and carefully observed how people preformed them. Most of his general findings in serial learning was that performance improved with practice. (Morris & Maisto, 2002; Gorfein & Hoffman, 1987).
Learning is the gaining of information. And the memory is that information's persistence in the nervous system over time; for a few seconds, days, or a life time. Memory safeguards information for immediate or later use and without it learning would have no purpose. Learning and memory are closely linked. The contents of memory are largely determined what is likely to be learned and how fast and well it is. (Howard, 1995).
The serial position curve appears when you chart the probability of an item being recalled against that items position in the list to be remembered. Words at the beginning of the list (the primacy effect) and the words at the end of the list (the recency effect) are better much better remembered and recalled than the words in the middle (asymptote). The primacy effect accrues because words at the beginning of a list had more chance at being rehearsed and more chance of being transfused to the long-term memory from which they can be recalled. The recency effect accurse because the words at the end of the list are held in the short-term memory. They are most often the first words a subject remembers when asked to recall the list. (Baron, Byrne, & Kantowitz, 1980; Morris & Maisto, 2002).
The ability to recall something can be strongly influenced by other stimuli presented just before or at the time of recall. Such stimuli are often referred to as primes or recall cues. Simply asking a subject to recall something could be considered a recall cue, and may influence what the subject remembers. (Baron, Byrne, & Kantowitz, 1980; Morris & Maisto, 2002).