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10. “Memory” is a process (and myth and a metaphor)

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10. “Memory” is a process (and myth and a metaphor)

Knowledge is never concrete in the brain — it is a dynamic and organic. Knowledge is fleeting and must be often rekindled for longterm usage. However, knowledge is closely synonymous with ‘memory’. How can memory be concrete if knowledge is not concrete? If memory is not concrete, then memory itself, at least the popular opinion of what memory is, cannot really exist.

What is memory? Memory is a communal metaphor for an ever-growing number of human capabilities that we use to describe our skills that we use in demonstrating our knowledge and/or understanding of the world. Because it is a skill, it is therefore a process, not something tangible like computer RAM. Our memory is very much NOT book-like nor computer RAM-like; our memory changes with context. Moreover, it changes every time we use it. ‘Memory’ is the result of real time cognition derived from lingering neural networks — certainly not from concrete storage banks. Whatever networks that happen to be lingering at the time of cognition necessarily affects the real-time re-membering process. By referring to memory as a myth (and metaphor), we allow for a better representation of the actual real-time neural processes.

Remember, your memory is usually only as good as your last recall -- and even then, you are at the mercy of your own real-time deductive and inductive skills regarding it. Memory is not a time machine. Memory is a "now process".

Read Dan Schacter's work at his Memory Lab at Harvard for more juicy details! http://scholar.harvard.edu/schacterlab

Q. This is an uncomfortable maxim for many people. How does make you feel? What changes to your teaching should you consider? How should you convey this to your students?

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2 Example from Marc on Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:16 am

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Marc shared this with me today. It's a great intro to this maxim!


http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2014/05/23/314614285/a-fakememory-you-have-to-see-to-believe

How does this relate to the maxim?

Robert

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