Culture & psychology, Bd. 17 (2011) H. 1, S. 3-9, 1354-067X
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The article by Jens Brockmeier (2010) provides a multifaceted, well-written, and thought-provoking synopsis of challenges faced by the study of memory. There are several critical issues and unwarranted conclusions associated with key claims of the article. First of all, the author's criticism of the archival notion of memory is well made but falls short of taking into account long-standing debates and conceptual developments in the psychology of memory. Second, contrary to the author's claim, memory for past events and experiences, however accurate or biased, serves important psychological functions. Third, ignoring fundamental differences between types or systems of memory poses the risk of overgeneralized and eventually unwarranted claims about memory. Differentiation can be an important step in research progress, if it goes along with an adequate level of integration. Fourth, I argue that something like 'memory' must exist that produces learning behavior, which is ubiquitous in humans and animals. I conclude by drawing attention to the pervasiveness of memory in psychological phenomena. From this perspective, the challenges outlined in the target article are not so much due to the elusiveness or lack of substance, but rather the very pervasiveness of memory. (ZPID).
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