Abstract Temporal distinctiveness models of memory retrieval claim that memories are organised partly in terms of their positions along a temporal dimension, and suggest that memory retrieval involves temporal discrimination. According to such models the retrievability of memories should be related to the discriminability of their temporal distances at the time of retrieval. This prediction is tested directly in three pairs of experiments that examine (a) memory retrieval and (b) identification of temporal durations that correspond to the temporal distances of the memories. Qualitative similarities between memory retrieval and temporal discrimination are found in probed serial recall (Experiments 1 and 2), immediate and delayed free recall (Experiments 3 and 4) and probed serial recall of grouped lists (Experiments 5 and 6). The results are interpreted as consistent with the suggestion that memory retrieval is indeed akin to temporal discrimination.