Lack of progress in understanding memory may at least partiallly be attributed to the theorists' preoccupation with memory traces, or other equivalent concepts, as determinants of recollection of events. The purpose of this book is to redress the balance by emphasizing the critical role that retrieval processes play in remembering. The author's thesis is that the nature of recollective experience is determined by the interaction between the 'episodic' trace information and the 'semantic' retrieval information. This basic theme is elaborated by tracing the development of the ideas considering relevant empirical evidence, relating a proposed theoretical framework to the ideas held by other theorists, and dealing with criticisms advanced by others. Professor Tulving has written the book at two levels which are interwoven in the printed text. One level discusses issues from the point of view of 'detached science': the emphasis here is on ideas, hypotheses, evidence, logic and theory. The second level presents a personal commentary on the development of ideas at the first level, and provides observations about the psychology and sociology of a developing science.
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Review from previous edition Tulving's book is sure to have a major influence on investigations of memory. But it will be unfortunate if its readership is restricted to memory researchers. The nature of the book is such that it can serve as a basis for a useful dialogue among those working in a variety of areas. (Contemporary Psychology)
In sum, 'Elements' deserves to be read by all students of memory ... We can all benefit from the thoughtful analysis and sensible framing of questions Tulving offers. (Canadian Journal of Psychology)
... essential reading for all workers in the area... (Psychological Medicine)
Endel Tulving is Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto.
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