Full Text


Ian Neath


When most people think of memory, they tend to think of a place in which information is put and stored until it is needed, much like a library. Unfortunately, this metaphor is quite misleading in that it implies a static, veridical process. Nothing really happens to library books while sitting on the shelf; they may grow musty, they might be mis-shelved, but once one has the book, the contents are identical to the last time the book was consulted. In contrast, human memory is a dynamic, fundamentally reconstructive set of processes that enable previously encoded information to affect current and future performance. Memory works like perceptual and other cognitive processes: people use whatever cues and information are available to achieve a sensible interpretation of the information processed (→  Information Processing ). Consider the case of recalling what happened at the college football game last week. The first time a retrieval attempt is made, there are three sources of information: (1) from the event itself, (2) from similar events, and (3) from general knowledge of what happens at football games. All three sources of information are involved in the construction of a memory. The spectator might remember a specific play, which most likely comes from memory of the event itself. But if asked whether he remembers the coin toss that starts the game, he might mistakenly recall a ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top