Human Memory: The Processing of Information

Human Memory: The Processing of Information

Human Memory: The Processing of Information

Human Memory: The Processing of Information

Excerpt

Over the past 20 years, the study of human memory has become an increasingly popular topic of study for psychologists, and since the late 1960s a new framework for studying memory has begun to take shape. It is the purpose of this book to present a broad overview of this framework, including descriptions of (1) the major theoretical components of the framework and (2) the critical research findings that justify the establishment of these components and illuminate the mechanisms by which they operate. The book is not meant to constitute an exhaustive review of the enormous research literature that has accrued over the years. We deliberately avoid wading into masses of detail on any given topic area, and we deliberately sidestep a number of current theoretical controversies. Instead, we have planned this book to be a guide and an introduction for the student or interested layman with little or no background in the area of memory as a field of psychological inquiry. We seek primarily to describe the forest, and we provide some direction to a number of other excellent texts that recount the details of the trees.

As suggested by our title, the theoretical framework with which this book is concerned views the processing of information as the principal mental task engaged in by human beings. A person is seen as constantly taking in information from the environment and then storing, manipulating, and recoding portions of this information in a succession of memory stages. The key tasks involved in the scientific investigation of memory are seen as (1) identification of the memory stages themselves and (2) the investigation of what types of information processing characterize each stage.

The organization of the book loosely reflects the way memory is conceived to be organized within this information-processing framework. Following a short introductory chapter, Chapters 2-4 describe the three major stages, or repositories of memorial information: sensory store (which contains a brief, but . . .

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