Depression and Memory
For most of its history, psychology has been concerned with episoidic memory . In the verbal-learning paradigm invented by Ebbinghaus (1885/1964), each list of nonsense syllables, and for that matter each individual nonsense syllable, constitutes a separate episode of experience, to be remembered in the context of their episodes.
All of this is well and good, and it’s been enormously heuristic for the study of memory. For one thing, pursuing the notion of a memory as a thing has yielded a surprisingly small set of principles by which we can understand the causes of remembering and forgetting (kihlstrom & Barnhardt, 1993):
Elaboration: Memory improves when an event is related to pre-existing knowledge.
Organization: Memory improves when events are related to each other.
Time-Dependency: Memory fades with time.
Interference: The cause of forgetting is competition among available memories, not the loss of memories from storage through decay or displacement.
Cue-Dependency: Memory improves when the environment provides richly informative retrieval cues.
Encoding Specificity (also known as Transfer-Appropriate Processing): Memory is best when information processed at the time of retrieval matches information processed at the time of encoding.
Schematic Processing: Memory is better or events that match our expectations than for events that are irrelevant to them, but memory is best for events that seem to violate our expectations.
This is all great but its not the only way of looking at things. A big shift in perspective was announced by Frederick C. Bartlett (1932), almost 50 years after Ebbinghaus published his book. It is evident in the very title of this book: Remembering, and it is clear in Bartlett’s first chapter which is kind of an attack on Ebbinghaus.
“The results of the nonsense syllable experiments may throw light upon the ….establishment and the control of [very special habits of reception and...