A tentative explanation for state-dependent recall is the use of the physiological state as a contextual cue.[Results of converging studies have shown that in tasks where no
contextual cue is provided, internal states may serve as contextual
cues. Therefore, people who are in a certain drug state at the time of
encoding may utilize this state as a cue for retrieval. In contrast,
when information is encoded and retrieved in different states,
individuals have no cues
available to aid them in recalling information, leading to a decline
performance. Eich provides further evidence for this theory,
demonstrating that the introduction of additional contextual cues
abolishes the state-dependent effect.
If a cue such as a sound or an image is provided to remind people of
what they encoded, they no longer require the state to prompt retrieval.
In this instance, participants perform equally, regardless of the
states at encoding and retrieval. According to Eich, the complete
absence of any other observable reminders is critical for showing
state-dependent cueing effects.