A Cognitive Approach to Memory and Thought
This chapter concerns relatively delayed vicissitudes of sensory information with remembering events that happened more than a few seconds ago, or solving problems that require some use of stored information. The constructive view of these processes, which is to be presented here, has a long history. A central feature of cognitive theory is the construct of a representational memory trace. This memory trace is conceived of as the product of learning, and serves as the basis of memory. The memory trace is taken to be representational in the sense that activation of a trace corresponding to a prior experience will give rise to a new experience similar to that prior experience. Cognitive structures play a particularly interesting role in learning and remembering. In this connection, they are most frequently called schemata, after Bartlett. The hypothesis of the present chapter is that cognition is constructive, and that the process of construction leaves traces behind.