Memory

   1) A Unitary Search Process for All the Phenomena of Memory
   To what extent can we lump together what goes on when you try to recall: (1) your name; (2) how you kick a football; and (3) the present location of your car keys? If we use introspective evidence as a guide, the first seems an immediate automatic response. The second may require constructive internal replay prior to our being able to produce a verbal description. The third . . . quite likely involves complex operational responses under the control of some general strategy system. Is any unitary search process, with a single set of characteristics and inputoutput relations, likely to cover all these cases? (Reitman, 1970, p. 485)
   2) Semantic Memory Is a Mental Thesaurus
   [Semantic memory] Is a mental thesaurus, organized knowledge a person possesses about words and other verbal symbols, their meanings and referents, about relations among them, and about rules, formulas, and algorithms for the manipulation of these symbols, concepts, and relations. Semantic memory does not register perceptible properties of inputs, but rather cognitive referents of input signals. (Tulving, 1972, p. 386)
   3) The Development of Mnemonic Codes
   The mnemonic code, far from being fixed and unchangeable, is structured and restructured along with general development. Such a restructuring of the code takes place in close dependence on the schemes of intelligence. The clearest indication of this is the observation of different types of memory organisation in accordance with the age level of a child so that a longer interval of retention without any new presentation, far from causing a deterioration of memory, may actually improve it. (Piaget & Inhelder, 1973, p. 36)
   4) The Logic of Some Memory Theorization Is of Dubious Worth in the History of Psychology
   If a cue was effective in memory retrieval, then one could infer it was encoded; if a cue was not effective, then it was not encoded. The logic of this theorization is "heads I win, tails you lose" and is of dubious worth in the history of psychology. We might ask how long scientists will puzzle over questions with no answers. (Solso, 1974, p. 28)
   5) The Constituent Elements of Memory Theory
   We have iconic, echoic, active, working, acoustic, articulatory, primary, secondary, episodic, semantic, short-term, intermediate-term, and longterm memories, and these memories contain tags, traces, images, attributes, markers, concepts, cognitive maps, natural-language mediators, kernel sentences, relational rules, nodes, associations, propositions, higher-order memory units, and features. (Eysenck, 1977, p. 4)
   6) The Problem with the Memory Metaphor
   The problem with the memory metaphor is that storage and retrieval of traces only deals [sic] with old, previously articulated information. Memory traces can perhaps provide a basis for dealing with the "sameness" of the present experience with previous experiences, but the memory metaphor has no mechanisms for dealing with novel information. (Bransford, McCarrell, Franks & Nitsch, 1977, p. 434)
   7) The Results of a Hundred Years of the Psychological Study of Memory Are Somewhat Discouraging
   The results of a hundred years of the psychological study of memory are somewhat discouraging. We have established firm empirical generalisations, but most of them are so obvious that every ten-year-old knows them anyway. We have made discoveries, but they are only marginally about memory; in many cases we don't know what to do with them, and wear them out with endless experimental variations. We have an intellectually impressive group of theories, but history offers little confidence that they will provide any meaningful insight into natural behavior. (Neisser, 1978, pp. 12-13)
   8) The Structure and Function of a Schema in Memory
   A schema, then is a data structure for representing the generic concepts stored in memory. There are schemata representing our knowledge about all concepts; those underlying objects, situations, events, sequences of events, actions and sequences of actions. A schema contains, as part of its specification, the network of interrelations that is believed to normally hold among the constituents of the concept in question. A schema theory embodies a prototype theory of meaning. That is, inasmuch as a schema underlying a concept stored in memory corresponds to the meaning of that concept, meanings are encoded in terms of the typical or normal situations or events that instantiate that concept. (Rumelhart, 1980, p. 34)
   9) Competence and Performance in Theories of Memory
   Memory appears to be constrained by a structure, a "syntax," perhaps at quite a low level, but it is free to be variable, deviant, even erratic at a higher level. . . .
   Like the information system of language, memory can be explained in part by the abstract rules which underlie it, but only in part. The rules provide a basic competence, but they do not fully determine performance. (Campbell, 1982, pp. 228, 229)
   10) Metaphors of Memory
   When people think about the mind, they often liken it to a physical space, with memories and ideas as objects contained within that space. Thus, we speak of ideas being in the dark corners or dim recesses of our minds, and of holding ideas in mind. Ideas may be in the front or back of our minds, or they may be difficult to grasp. With respect to the processes involved in memory, we talk about storing memories, of searching or looking for lost memories, and sometimes of finding them. An examination of common parlance, therefore, suggests that there is general adherence to what might be called the spatial metaphor. The basic assumptions of this metaphor are that memories are treated as objects stored in specific locations within the mind, and the retrieval process involves a search through the mind in order to find specific memories. . . .
   However, while the spatial metaphor has shown extraordinary longevity, there have been some interesting changes over time in the precise form of analogy used. In particular, technological advances have influenced theoretical conceptualisations. . . . The original Greek analogies were based on wax tablets and aviaries; these were superseded by analogies involving switchboards, gramophones, tape recorders, libraries, conveyor belts, and underground maps. Most recently, the workings of human memory have been compared to computer functioning . . . and it has been suggested that the various memory stores found in computers have their counterparts in the human memory system. (Eysenck, 1984, pp. 79-80)
   11) Comparison of Primary Memory and Secondary Memory
   Primary memory [as proposed by William James] relates to information that remains in consciousness after it has been perceived, and thus forms part of the psychological present, whereas secondary memory contains information about events that have left consciousness, and are therefore part of the psychological past. (Eysenck, 1984, p. 86)
   12) Semantic Memory and Episodic Memory
   Once psychologists began to study long-term memory per se, they realized it may be divided into two main categories. . . . Semantic memories have to do with our general knowledge about the working of the world. We know what cars do, what stoves do, what the laws of gravity are, and so on. Episodic memories are largely events that took place at a time and place in our personal history. Remembering specific events about our own actions, about our family, and about our individual past falls into this category. With amnesia or in aging, what dims . . . is our personal episodic memories, save for those that are especially dear or painful to us. Our knowledge of how the world works remains pretty much intact. (Gazzaniga, 1988, p. 42)
   13) The Relation of Memory to Thinking
   The nature of memory . . . provides a natural starting point for an analysis of thinking. Memory is the repository of many of the beliefs and representations that enter into thinking, and the retrievability of these representations can limit the quality of our thought. (Smith, 1990, p. 1)

Historical dictionary of quotations in cognitive science. . 2015.

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