Distributed Cognition and Memory Research: History and Current Directions

John Sutton
Macquarie University
Kourken Michaelian
Université Grenoble Alpes
According to the hypotheses of distributed and extended cognition, remembering does not always occur entirely inside the brain but is often distributed across heterogeneous systems combining neural, bodily, social, and technological resources. These ideas have been intensely debated in philosophy, but the philosophical debate has often remained at some distance from relevant empirical research, while empirical memory research, in particular, has been somewhat slow to incorporate distributed/extended ideas. This situation, however, appears to be changing, as we witness an increasing level of interaction between the philosophy and the empirical research. In this editorial, we provide a high-level historical overview of the development of the debates around the hypotheses of distributed and extended cognition, as well as relevant theory and empirical research on memory, considering both the role of memory in theoretical debates around distributed/extended ideas and strands of memory research that resonate with those ideas; we emphasize recent trends towards increased interaction, including new empirical paradigms for investigating distributed memory systems. We then provide an overview of the special issue itself, drawing out a number of general implications from the contributions, and conclude by sketching promising directions for future research on distributed memory.
Keywords distributed cognition  memory  extended cognition  extended mind  philosophy of psychology  philosophy of cognitive science  theories of memory
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DOI 10.1007/s13164-013-0131-x
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The Cultural Ecosystem of Human Cognition.Edwin Hutchins - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (1):1-16.
Dimensions of Integration in Embedded and Extended Cognitive Systems.Richard Heersmink - 2014 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (3):577-598.
Dimensions of Integration in Embedded and Extended Cognitive Systems.Richard Heersmink - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (3):577-598.

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