'Working Memory, Thought, and Action' is the magnum opus of one of the most influential cognitive psychologists of the past 50 years. This new volume on the model he created discusses the developments that have occurred within the model in the past twenty years, and places it within a broader context.
The term 'episodic memory' refers to our memory for unique, personal experiences, that we can date at some point in our past - our first day at school, the day we got married. It has again become a topic of great importance and interest to psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers. How are such memories stored in the brain, why do certain memories disappear (especially those from early in childhood), what causes false memories (memories of events we erroneously believe have really taken (...) place)? Since Endel Tulving's classic book 'Episodic memory' (OUP, 1983) very few books have been published on this topic. In recent years however, many of the assumptions made about episodic memory have had to be reconsidered as a result of new techniques, which have allowed us a far deeper understanding of episodic memory. In 'Episodic memory: new directions in research' three of the worlds leading researchers in the topic of memory have brought together a stellar team of contributors from the fields of cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, and neuroscience, to present an account of what we now know about about this fundamentally important topic. The list of contributors includes, amongst others, Daniel Schacter, Richard Morris, Fareneh Vargha-Khadem, and Endel Tulving. The work presented within this book will have a profound effect on the direction that future research in this topic will take. (shrink)
Over 100 years ago, Frances Galton began the empirical study of autobiographical memory by devising a technique in which he explored the capacity for a cue word to elicit the recollection of events from earlier life (Galton, 1883). After a century of neglect, the topic began to re-emerge, stimulated by the work of Robinson (1976) using the technique on groups of normal subjects, by Crovitz’s work on its application to patients with memory deficits (Crovitz & Schiffman, 1974), and by the (...) detailed diary study of her own autobiographical memory carried out by Marigold Linton (Linton, 1975). This early wave of interest was focused by Rubin’s edited book on the topic (Rubin, 1986) which captured a broad and growing interest in autobiographical memory. This trend was reflected very strongly in the submissions to the second conference on Practical Aspects of Memory, in which the study of autobiographical memory represented one of the major strands (Gruneberg, Morris & Sykes, 1988), featuring prominently in both the opening and concluding addresses (Baddeley, 1988; Neisser, 1988). (shrink)
This paper explores the changes in cognitive function which occur as someone "loses consciousness" under anesthesia. Seven volunteers attempted a categorization task and a within-list recognition test while inhaling air, 0.2% isoflurane, and 0.4% isoflurane. In general, performance on these tests declined as the dose of anesthetic was increased and returned to baseline after 10 min of breathing air. A measure of auditory evoked responding termed "coherent frequency" showed parallel changes. At 0.2% isoflurane, subjects could still identify and respond to (...) category exemplars but showed impaired short-term memory function. Electrical stimulation at 0.4% isoflurane, intended to mimic the arousing effects of surgery, had a small, beneficial effect on performance. A mean of 63% of category exemplars was identified at this stage, but recognition memory for those exemplars was at chance on recovery. There was no evidence for learning of words presented at 0.8% isoflurane. (shrink)
Cowan's revisiting of the magic number is very timely and the case he makes for a more moderate number than seven is persuasive. It is also appropriate to frame his case within a theoretical context, since this will influence what evidence to include and how to interpret it. He presents his model however, as a contrast to the working memory model of Baddeley. I suggest that this reflects a misinterpretation of our model resulting in a danger of focusing attention on (...) pseudo-problems rather than genuine disparities between his approach and my own. (shrink)
Ruchkin et al.'s theoretical conclusions reflect two venerable fallacies. They confound an experimental paradigm with a theoretical concept, and they assume that features of the paradigm that are most readily detected by their methods provide an adequate account of the operation of the theoretical system. This results in a simplistic theory that does not do justice to the richness of the available data.