chapter  14
36 Pages

Organization and Repetition: Organizational Principles With Special Reference to Rote Learning

One of the motivating sources of modern cognitive psychology of memory is the concept of organization. Organization theory does not as yet have welldefined postulates, but it has an honorable history. In modern times it is anchored in the contributions of the Gestalt theorists, who taught us that organizations (the structures relating constituent elements to each other) have characteristics that are different from the sum of the characteristics of the constituent elements; or, to put it correctly, that the whole is different from the sum of its parts. Kohler, Wertheimer, and Koffka showed us that structure may not only be perceived in the environment but also imposed on it and particularly that productive thinking is the result of the discovery and use of these organizations or structures. Katona (1940) produced a sense of closure with his book on organization and memory, though the closure was also enforced by the predominant behaviorist and stimulus-response thinking that surrounded his work 40 years ago.