Learning and Memory: Major Ideas, Principles, Issues and Applications

Learning and Memory: Major Ideas, Principles, Issues and Applications

Learning and Memory: Major Ideas, Principles, Issues and Applications

Learning and Memory: Major Ideas, Principles, Issues and Applications

Synopsis

This book surveys the entire field of learning and memory. It describes the major approaches to its study and looks at basic assumptions and philosophical underpinnings. Howard integrates work from quite different perspectives into a single framework, and describes peripheral areas not usually mentioned in mainstream books, such as prenatal learning, constraints on knowledge, nonconnectionist machine learning, intelligence and learning, and skills learning. He gives the reader a broad knowledge of what the field is all about, what its parts are and how they interrelate, its major principles and key applications. The primary contribution of this work is the integration of current thinking about learning with the literature and research on memory.

Excerpt

Learning and memory is a topic of great importance that has long been at center stage in psychology and is also studied in such disciplines as phi- losophy, biology, education, artificial intelligence (AI), and linguistics. The topic is a major concern in many applied areas as well. In the last few decades, much progress has been made in understanding this complex, crucial ability. Nevertheless, its study is still somewhat fragmented. Psy- chologists still use several different approaches based on different assump- tions and methodologies, and there are several subfields that sometimes communicate little with each other and with the mainstream. The organi- zation of most learning and memory textbooks still reflects this fragmenta- tion. Typically the first half deals with learning, mostly in animals and from a behavioral perspective, and the second deals with memory, mostly in humans and from a cognitive perspective. The two halves are rarely linked. Some books mainly present material from just a cognitive or behavioral perspective. Introductory psychology textbooks often still take "learning" to refer to topics studied by behaviorists and cover it in a different section from work on memory. By and large, behavioral researchers still mostly study learning, and cognitive researchers (aside from those using connec- tionist techniques) mostly study memory. There are, however, increasing links between them, and cognitively oriented researchers have been looking more at learning processes in the last decade.

The first aim of this book is to try to bring some additional order to a vast and sprawling field by overviewing the entire area aside from its physiol- ogy. This book describes the major approaches and their basic assumptions, the key issues about learning and memory, and various subfields and topics usually not included in mainstream books, such as nonconnectionist ma- chine learning, constraints on knowledge, skill learning, prenatal learning, and application areas such as industrial design and the law. I have tried to . . .

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