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A SCIENCE OF MEMORY. Herman Ebbinghaus (1850-1909) Prussian philosopher Steeped in British empiricist approach “Uber das Gedachtnis” (1885) First experimental work on memory Introduces basic controlled methods Describes basic memory phenomena Learning and forgetting functions

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A SCIENCE OF MEMORY

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A SCIENCE OF MEMORY

  • Herman Ebbinghaus (1850-1909)

    • Prussian philosopher

    • Steeped in British empiricist approach

    • “Uber das Gedachtnis” (1885)

      • First experimental work on memory

      • Introduces basic controlled methods

    • Describes basic memory phenomena

      • Learning and forgetting functions

      • List-length effects and STM span

      • Serial position and spacing effects

      • Remote and backward associations

      • Importance of meaningfulness and organization

    • Contrasts effortful and automatic retrieval

    • Contrasts explicit and implicit memory

    • Overall, though, little theoretical work on memory processes


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GO-1

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REMOTE ASSOCIATIONS(Ebbinghaus, 1885)

  • 16 cvc’s studied to criterion

  • Two day retention interval

  • Second list learned to criterion

  • Percent savings =

  • (Old – New) / Old

  • Second list structure

  • intact33%

  • skip 1(1,3,5..)11%

  • skip 2 7%

  • skip 3 6%

  • skip 5 3%

  • random 0.5%


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A SCIENCE OF MEMORY(cont’d)

  • Alfred Binet (1857 – 1911)

    • French physician / scientist

    • Focus on school learning and ability

    • Study memory for coherent prose

      • Coherence effects

      • Importance effects

      • Acoustic and semantic codes for STM and LTM

  • Richard Semon (1859 – 1918)

    • German “natural philosopher”

    • Memory in a bio-evolutionary frame

      • The Mneme (1904)

    • Stresses retrieval as synthesis of the trace (“engram”) and cues: ecphory

      • Mnemic Psychology (1909)

    • Banished from academics and ignored


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A SCIENCE OF MEMORY(cont’d)

  • Frederic Bartlett (1886 – 1969)

    • British psychologist

    • Memory in a social context

    • Uses meaningful stories andcomplex objects as stimuli

    • Memory as constructive

      • Role of background knowledge and “schemas” of organized concepts

      • Potential for distortion and errors

  • Theodule Ribot (1839 – 1916)

    • French (neuro)psychologist

    • Organic (skill) versus psychological memories (procedural / declarative)

    • Noted diversity of “amnesias” and argued for dissociable systems

      • Diseases of Memory (1887)

    • Most recently acquired memories most vulnerable to loss (Ribot’s Law)


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  • Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939)

    • Constructivist view of remembering

      • Field versus observer perspectives

    • Stresses automatic, preconscious processes

    • Repression as a mechanism of forgetting

      • Inhibits painful memories

      • “leaks” of repressed memory surface in other thoughts (implicit memory) and behaviors (hysteria)

    • Therapy through bringing these memories to consciousness (catharsis)

    • Controversy over “motivated forgetting” and its mechanisms continues


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The War of the Ghosts(Original Script)

One night two young men from Egulac went down to the river to hunt seals and while they were there it became foggy and calm. Then they heard war-cries, and they thought: "Maybe this is a war-party". They escaped to the shore, and hid behind a log. Now canoes came up, and they heard the noise of paddles, and saw one canoe coming up to them. There were five men in the canoe, and they said:

"What do you think? We wish to take you along. We are going up the river to make war on the people."

One of the young men said,"I have no arrows."

"Arrows are in the canoe," they said.

"I will not go along. I might be killed. My relatives do not know where I have gone. But you," he said, turning to the other, "may go with them."

(continued…)


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So one of the young men went, but the other returned home.

And the warriors went on up the river to a town on the other side of Kalama. The people came down to the water and they began to fight, and many were killed. But presently the young man heard one of the warriors say, "Quick, let us go home: that Indian has been hit." Now he thought: "Oh, they are ghosts." He did not feel sick, but they said he had been shot.

So the canoes went back to Egulac and the young man went ashore to his house and made a fire. And he told everybody and said: "Behold I accompanied the ghosts, and we went to fight. Many of our fellows were killed, and many of those who attacked us were killed. They said I was hit, and I did not feel sick."

He told it all, and then he became quiet. When the sun rose he fell down. Something black came out of his mouth. His face became contorted. The people jumped up and cried.

He was dead.


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Recalling The War of the Ghosts

  • 'Something black came from his mouth' tended to become 'he frothed at the mouth', 'he vomited' or 'breath escaped from his mouth'.

  • 'Hunting seals' tended to become 'fishing'.

  • 'Canoe' tended to become 'boat' and 'paddles' to become 'oars'.

  • The wounded Indian tended to become the hero, whose wounds were sometimes even 'bathed' at the end.

  • The reference by the Indian who stayed to the possibility of getting killed tended to be downplayed or dropped, whilst the reference to the probable anxiety of his relatives was usually given greater emphasis (the reference to having no arrows was often omitted).

  • The role of 'the ghosts' shifted (for some, they become a clan called the Ghosts; for others they were simply imagined by the Indian when wounded).


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