Accession Number : AD0422425

Title :   IMPLICATIONS OF SHORT-TERM MEMORY FOR A GENERAL THEORY OF MEMORY,

Corporate Author : MICHIGAN UNIV ANN ARBOR INST OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Personal Author(s) : Melton, Arthur W.

PDF Url : AD0422425

Report Date : OCT 1963

Pagination or Media Count : 45

Abstract : A dichotomy of human memory into immediate memory and long-term memory (associative memory, habit) has been widely accepted for many years and has been formally stated by some theorists. This assumed dichotomy of the phenomena of short-term memory and long-term memory is examined and rejected in this paper. First, a number of current issues in learning theory are restated as issues about the formation, storage, and retrieval of memory traces, and the major issue is identified as the question whether short-term memory and long- term memory are points on a continuum, or a dichotomy. Then this major issue is examined in the light of data from recent studies in which the recall of single to-be-remembered alphanumeric items followed a single or very few repetitions. Finally, the issue is examined in the light of new data that relate the slope of the short-term forgetting curve to the number of elements or recoded chunks in the to-be-remembered unit, and also new data that confirm and extend Hebb's finding that there is a specific accumulative strengthening effect of repetitions in the immediate memory situation involving to-be-remembered units beyond the span of immediate memory of human subjects. The principal consequence of the conclusion that a continuum, rather than a dichotomy, is involved in short-term and longterm memory is the rejection of the postulate of autonomous decay of traces in the case of shortterm memory and acceptance of the postulate of permanence of traces, once formed, throughout all varieties of memory. (Author)

Descriptors :   *TIME, .

Subject Categories : Biochemistry

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE