Implicit Memory: Theoretical Issues

Implicit Memory: Theoretical Issues

Implicit Memory: Theoretical Issues

Implicit Memory: Theoretical Issues


For the first time, David Katz's classic monograph The World of Touch has been translated into English. Regarded as one of the premiere experimental psychologists, Katz vigorously opposed the atomism and "tachistoscopic" mentality typical of the sensory psychology of his day.

In The World of Touch, Katz sought to dispel the invidious distinction between the supposedly higher (e.g., vision, audition) and lower (e.g., touch) senses. To help touch regain its original prominence in the field, Katz demonstrated, through very simple, yet creative experiments, how fascinating the abilities of touch are, and how valuable the tactual stimulus can be in specifying objects, surfaces, substances, and events. In addition, Katz emphasized the importance of higher-order invariants in the perception of objects, and the holistic quality of perception in time as well as space.


One of the more noteworthy comments on the plans for this book was provided by a well-known Canadian psychologist. He predicted that, should it ever be completed, it would immediately become the researcher's bible on implicit memory, although I avoid reporting the additional prediction as to the brevity of this status. He then asked whether the book would "explain priming," which I promised it most certainly would, and would do so without invoking separate memory systems.

Upon completion of the project, my confidence in these predictions and promises has both thrived and declined: It thrived on the enthusiasm of the many people that contributed to this project, on the quality of the chapters that we received, and on the interest the project generated with our colleagues. It declined when it became clear that this book could only cover a small fraction of the cognitive phenomena that deserve the label 'implicit', and that some related topics, such as implicit learning or expertise, remain to be explored elsewhere.

How This Book Came About

Australia's bicentenary in 1988 brought with it not only celebrations and barbecues, but also the International Congress of Psychology in Sydney, which attracted thousands of psychologists from around the world. Kim Kirsner, John Dunn, and I decided to use this opportunity by holding a conference prior to the International Congress specifically to address our research interests in implicit memory. Remoteness and travel times notwithstanding, a group of cognitive psychologists gathered in Perth from the 14th to the 16th of August 1988 to exchange ideas, and predictions about theoretical issues in implicit memory. These ideas, data, and predictions are reported on the following pages.

Who This Book is Intended For

This book is intended mainly for researchers in the field and for use in graduate seminars on implicit memory, and requires some background knowledge about basic concepts in memory research. Terms such as priming, word completion, and dissociation, to name but a few, should be familiar to the reader before attempting . . .

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