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A switching model of conductivity modulation by a charge trapping process is proposed to describe the resistive switching in nonvolatile metal-insulator-metal (MIM) memory. Based on a quantitative detrapping analysis, retention is explained by the thermal release time of trapped charges, which is determined by trap depth and temperature. A characteristic temperature is defined at which a significant loss of retention would occur. A temperature-accelerated test is devised to measure the characteristic temperature and to give an early input on the worst-case retention for a given technology. The viability of this method is demonstrated using MIM memory.