Recent studies have shown that conscious recollection of the past occurs spontaneously when subjects voluntarily recall their own past experiences or a list of previously studied words. Naturalistic diary studies and laboratory studies of this phenomenon, often called involuntary conscious memory (ICM), show that it occurs in 2 ways. One is direct ICM retrieval, which occurs when a cue spontaneously triggers a conscious memory; the other is chained ICM retrieval, which occurs when a retrieved conscious memory spontaneously triggers another. Laboratory studies investigating ICM show that chained ICM retrieval occurs on voluntary autobiographical memory tasks. The present results show that chained ICM retrieval also occurs on a voluntary word list memory task (cued recall). These results are among a handful suggesting that ICM retrieval routinely occurs during voluntary recall.

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