Implicit Memory and Metacognition

By Lynne M. Reder | Go to book overview

memories of childhood abuse. The model cannot, of course, tell us which particular reports are veridical and which are not, but it can provide us with alternative hypotheses about the mental processes that can lead to such reports, and thereby help define what "beyond reasonable doubt" might mean in such situations.


CONCLUSION

That there should be implicit as well as explicit memory is not surprising or mysterious as long as we recognize that not everything about memory structure and process is reportable. The subject must use indirect means to infer much of it. We label as "implicit memory" the responses to task demands that provide clues to the more indirectly available components of this system. This statement holds whether we are talking of EPAM, ACT-R, Cohen and Servan-Schreiber's connectionist net, a schematic neural net, or any other model of memory that is valid for the phenomena under consideration ( VanLehn, 1991).

Research on implicit memory requires us to invent tasks that give us cues to the indirectly observable components and processes of LTM and to draw inferences from the observed behavior that enable us to develop and test models of the system. In such research, experimenting and model building must go hand in hand.

The human memory system is far too complex to be understood through informal verbal arguments that lack the discipline of a formal, computationally effective model for inferring interactions and other indirect consequences of the operation of components. At this symposium, Anderson gave us one simple example of how to employ a model for understanding explicit and implicit memory, using ACT-R; McClelland another, using a PDP net; Shimamura, using a neural net; I another, using EPAM. Although much remains to be done before we reach consensus about the properties that should be incorporated in a memory model, these examples provide a considerable range of illustrations of the strategy to be followed. Modeling, in combination with the careful and ingenious experimentation that is typified by the papers of this symposium, will broaden and deepen our understanding both of those elements in memory that can be reported explicitly and those about which we must learn through indirect paths of inference.


REFERENCS

Brown R., & McNeill D. ( 1966). "The tip of the tongue phenomenon". Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 5, 325-337.

Ericsson K. A., & Simon H. A. ( 1993). Protocol analysis. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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