Relating Theory and Data: Essays on Human Memory in Honor of Bennet B. Murdock

Relating Theory and Data: Essays on Human Memory in Honor of Bennet B. Murdock

Relating Theory and Data: Essays on Human Memory in Honor of Bennet B. Murdock

Relating Theory and Data: Essays on Human Memory in Honor of Bennet B. Murdock


This festschrift represents the proceedings of a conference held in honor of Bennet B. Murdock, one of the foremost researchers and theoreticians on human memory and cognition. A highly renowned investigator respected for both his empirical and theoretical contributions to the field, Murdock summarized and focused a large amount of research activity with his 1974 book Human Memory: Theory and Data. This unique collection of articles addresses many of the issues discussed in his classic text. Divided into five principal sections, its coverage includes: theoretical perspectives on human memory ranging from a biological view to an exposition of the value of formal models; recent progress in the study of processes in immediate memory and recognition memory; and new developments in componential and distributed approaches to the modeling of human memory. Each section concludes with an integrative commentary provided by some of Murdock's eminent colleagues from the University of Toronto. Thus, this book offers a diversity of perspectives on contemporary topics in the discipline, and will be of interest to students and scholars in all branches of cognitive science.


This volume evolved from a conference held at the University of Toronto in June 1990, in celebration of Bennet B. Murdock's 65th birthday, and in recognition of his 25 years at the University of Toronto.

In light of Ben Murdock's significant contributions to the study of human memory, we felt a fitting birthday party should consist of a high-level scientific meeting where current findings and theoretical views could be presented and discussed in both formal and informal settings. To this end we invited 20 leading researchers in the field of human memory and cognition to participate. As we envisioned a scientifically productive meeting that would debate current theoretical issues in a critical manner, we ensured that the list of invitees included investigators with contrasting theoretical viewpoints. We were overwhelmed with the enthusiastic response we received: It is a testament to the influence of Ben's accomplishments that such an esteemed group of theorists and experimentalists came from around the world to participate in the festivities.

The organization of this book is based largely on the sessions of the conference. Walter Kintsch could not attend the conference but he was still able to contribute a chapter. Robert Bjork presented a paper but could not contribute a chapter. Four of the conference sessions were chaired by Bennet Murdock's long-time colleagues at the University of Toronto, who have also provided the commentaries for this collection. Thus, this volume provides both an international and a "Toronto" perspective on contemporary issues in cognitive psychology.

Most readers of this volume will be familiar with Bennet Murdoc's empirical and theoretical contributions to the study and understanding of human memory. (A bibliography is included at the end of this volume.) From first-hand experience we know that Ben's students have appreciated his guidance and insight, and have been inspired by his commitment, and the rigorous standards his work embodies. We feel this collection of essays is a fitting tribute--they represent the esteem and high regard in which Ben is held by his students, colleagues, and peers.


We are grateful for financial support provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, by the University of Toronto, and by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Without their assistance the conference and this volume would not have been possible. We also gratefully acknowledge Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Oklahoma for their financial assistance in the preparation of this book. All royalties from this book will be donated to the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto.

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