This new major work in a key area of psychological study and research has been bought together by one of Europe’s leading Cognitive scientists and will be included as part of the Sage Benchmarks in Psychology series. Drawing upon highly influential classic and contemporary sources, Koen Lambert guides readers through the central defining papers that anchor the field of Cognitive Science. Taken together, the six volumes will provide access to the key debates within the field and all the main lines of research that have emerged. This resource presents an interdisciplinary collection of wide ranging readings taken from leading behavioral sciences publications, including highly cited theoretical articles and empirical articles that have had great impact on the key debates in the field.

The Memory Machine

The memory machine

Thinking about the past is a cognitive skill of the utmost practical importance. In this chapter1 we shall follow the development of a scientific study of remembering to illustrate the methods of cognitive science in some detail. A scientific study of the phenomena of some domain, be it subatomic physics or the psychology of remembering, requires the following:

  • An open set of categories, for classifying the phenomena that fall into the domain of interest. Some boundary criteria are needed to mark off those phenomena that fall into the domain from those that do not. Such a boundary will inevitably be fuzzy and often contested. A psychological domain laid out in a scientific taxonomy must remain pegged at certain points to ...
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