Human Memory and Amnesia

Human Memory and Amnesia

Human Memory and Amnesia

Human Memory and Amnesia

Excerpt

For anyone who has ever attempted to document the relationship between normal memory processing and the amnesic syndrome, the lack of communication existing between investigators encamped within these two disciplines becomes immediately apparent. Even to the most casual of observers, it becomes obvious that this lack of attention to one another's advances has resulted in more than occasional duplication of effort. In fact, the histories of research on normal memory and on the amnesic syndrome have existed in parallel in the United States (less so in England) with little to no interaction.

One area that has commanded the most duplicative interest has involved the question of whether long-term memory and short-term memory truly represent independent storage systems or are simply points on a continuum. Although theorists of both normal memory and of amnesia have had to wrestle with this question, the only time that there has been cross-area utilization of research findings has been when one's results fit easily into a particular model. This lends credence to individual hypotheses, but it also leads to a certain unwillingness to recognize that both areas of investigation have been wrestling simultaneously with the same question and that neither has the solution.

Another area of parallel research concerns the many attempts to determine the primary locus of variables influencing the rate at which information is lost during retention. Some theorists of both normal and amnesic memory processes have placed these variables in the encoding (acquisition) stage of information processing ; others have emphasized the associative (i.e., storage) stage, and still others have concentrated on the retrieval stage. A related concern has centered around attempts to document the most effective type of cues that can be introduced during the retrieval stage. Some have felt that those cues that reestablish the . . .

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