So, Is There a Place for Mnemonics in Contemporary Psychology?
The obvious home in psychology for the study of mnemonics is within the community of memory scientists. Ironically, certain basic premises of memory research are subtle obstacles for widespread acceptance of mnemonics. Chief among those is that the proper subject of memory theory is the natural operation of memory. This tension between natural memory and the artificial techniques of mnemonics is not new and, as represented in contemporary psychology, not particularly fractious or principled. On the other hand, it is true that the implicit goal of explaining natural memory does not easily incorporate artificial memory. The goal of basic science since the time of Ebbinghaus has been to explain the operation of memory, whereas the sole purpose of mnemonics is to improve memory. These goals are compatible, but they are different. For these and other reasons, very little research on mnemonics appears in the journals of basic memory research.