Learning and memory are inextricably intertwined. The capacity for learning presupposes an ability to retain the knowledge acquired through experience, while memory stores the background knowledge against which new learning takes place. During the dark years of radical behaviorism, when the concept of memory was deemed too mentalistic to be a proper subject of scientific study, research on human memory took the form of research on verbal learning (Anderson, 2000; Schwartz & Reisberg, 1991).
By conflating Freudian repression with thought suppression and memory reconstruction, Erdelyi defines repression so broadly that the concept loses its meaning. Worse, perhaps, he fails to provide any evidence that repression actually happens, and ignores evidence that it does not.
Wegner's many examples of illusory involuntariness do not warrant the conclusion that the experience of voluntariness is also an illusion. His arguments appear to be related to the contemporary emphasis on automaticity in social cognition and behavior; both appear to represent a revival of situationism in social psychology.
This commentary notes the emergence of a “People are Stupid” school of thought that describes social behavior as mindless, automatic, and unconscious. I trace the roots of this “school,” particularly in the link between situationism in social psychology and behaviorism in psychology at large, and suggest that social psychology should focus on the role of the mind in social interaction.
Statistical significance testing has its problems, but so do the alternatives that are proposed; and the alternatives may be both more cumbersome and less informative. Significance tests remain legitimate aspects of the rhetoric of scientific persuasion.