Memory: Current Issues

Memory: Current Issues

Memory: Current Issues

Memory: Current Issues


An up-to-date, in-depth treatment of the major current issues, theories and findings. It introduces a representative selection of different research methods, and the reader is encouraged, by means of activities and self-assessment questions, to become an active participant in cognitive psychology. The first edition of this book established itself as an accessible, contemporary introduction to human memory. This second edition has been extensively rewritten to take account of recent research developments in the subject.

The first of three main parts explores everyday memory - the way in which memory functions in our everyday lives. A great deal of what we experience in daily life is forgotten or misremembered. Several theories that have been proposed to explain the selective nature of everyday memory are outlined and lucidly discussed. The second part, which has been revised and updated for this edition, covers the processes and mechanisms of memory, and contrasts the experimental and computational approaches to model building. It includes a detailed examination of the working memory model based on experimental findings and considers the processing activities that occur when memories are input to the system. It also provides a more general computationally-based account of the way memory is integrated with the whole cognitive system.

The third part, which is entirely new, presents a clear account of the most recent and exciting development in memory research - parallel distributed processing. Without resorting to algebra, the principles of "neural networks" are explained in sufficient detail to provide a firm base for understanding current research in this rapidly growing area.


Within the Open Guides to Psychology series, Memory is one of a companion set of four books, the others being Language Understanding, Problem Solving and Perception and Representation. Together these form the main texts of the Open University third level course in Cognitive Psychology, but each of the four volumes can be read independently. The course is designed for second or third year students. It is presented in the style and format that the Open University has found to be uniquely effective in making the material intelligible and interesting.

The books provide an up-to-date, in-depth treatment of some of the major issues, theories and findings in cognitive psychology. They are designed to introduce a representative selection of different research methods, and the reader is encouraged, by means of Activities and Self-assessment Questions interpolated through the text, to become involved in cognitive psychology as an active participant.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the many helpful comments and suggestions of fellow members of the course team and of the external assessor Michael W. Eysenck on earlier drafts, and the valuable assistance of Pat Vasiliou in typing the manuscript.


Grateful acknowledgement is made to Michael W. Eysenck. Part IIA is based on the version he wrote for a previous edition of this book. Thanks also to John Slack and Hank Kahney who wrote material upon which Part IIB is partly based.

Grateful acknowledgement is also made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this book:


Figures 1.2 and 1.3: Lachman, J.L., Lachman, R. and Thronesberry, C. (1979) 'Metamemory through the adult life span', Developmental Psychology, 15, pp. 543–51, copyright © 1979 by the American Psychological Association, adapted by permission; Figure 1.7: Neisser, U. (1982) Memory Observed: Transformations of Memory in Everyday Life, W.H. Freeman and Co.; Figure 1.8: adapted from Holding, D.H., Noonan, T.K., Pfau, H.D. and Holding, C.S. (1986) 'Date attribution, age and the distribution of life memories', Journal of Gerontology, 41 . . .

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