Introduction

This chapter and the next two are concerned with human memory. All three chapters deal with normal human memory, but Chapter 7 also considers amnesic patients. Traditional laboratory-based research is the focus of this chapter, with more naturalistic research being the focus of Chapter 8. However, there are important links among these types of research. Many theoretical issues are relevant to brain-damaged and normal individuals, whether tested in the laboratory or in the field.

Theories of memory generally consider both the structure of the memory system and the processes operating within that structure. Structure refers to the way in which the memory system is organised, and process refers to the activities occurring within the memory system. Structure and process are both important, but some theorists emphasise only one of them in their theoretical formulations.

Learning and memory involve a series of stages. Those stages occurring during the presentation of the learning material are known as "encoding". This is the first stage. As a result of encoding, some information is stored within the memory system. Thus, storage is the second stage. The third, and final, stage is retrieval, which involves recovering or extracting stored information from the memory system.

We have emphasised the importance of the distinctions between structure and process and among encoding, storage, and retrieval. However, one cannot have structure without process, or retrieval without previous encoding and storage. It is only when processes operate on the essentially passive structures of the memory system that it becomes active and of use. As Tulving and Thomson (1973, p. 359) pointed out, "Only that can be retrieved that has been stored, and.. .how it can be retrieved depends on how it was stored."

Business Correspondence

Business Correspondence

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