Memory and Learning: The Ebbinghaus Centennial Conference

Memory and Learning: The Ebbinghaus Centennial Conference

Memory and Learning: The Ebbinghaus Centennial Conference

Memory and Learning: The Ebbinghaus Centennial Conference

Excerpt

David S. Gorfein and Robert R. Hoffman Adelphi University

The moment we reminded ourselves that 1985 would mark the 100th anniversary of the experimental psychology of learning and memory, as dated from the publication of Ebbinghaus' research On Memory (1885), it occurred to us that it might be an appropriate time for experimental psychologists to convene for a discussion of the accomplishments to date of research on learning and memory.

We subsequently learned of the plans of psychologists at Passau University to hold a conference to focus on the history of psychology. The International Hermann Ebbinghaus Symposium was held at the Institut für Geschichte der Neueren Psychologie at Passau University May 30-June 2, 1985.

We were surprised to find that no one in the United States was planning such a meeting, and so we immediately went to work. In this volume we present the proceedings of a conference held on April 19 and 20, 1985, at Adelphi University. Our goal was to assemble leading researchers, not so much for the purpose of discussing historical matters as for the purpose of assessing the state of the art in terms of research methods and findings: (a) The overall results of the past 100 years of research, (b) modern research that follows in the Ebbinghaus tradition, and (c) modern research that appears to challenge that tradition. The plan was to span the gaps between the traditions established by Ebbinghaus, by associationism, the work of the 1950s on verbal behavior, and modern work in the tradition of "cognitive science." In summarizing the accomplishments of the past 100 years of research, we also wanted our contributors to describe their own new research.

Looking back on the project, we believe we have met our goals. Although the conference included a few eye-opening discussions of the history of psychology, and Ebbinghaus in particular, it consisted primarily of intensive reviews of . . .

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