Memory is not a unitary construct. There are many kinds of memory and, perhaps, many different memory systems. In the simplest sense, memory refers to a representation in the brain of facts, events, or other kinds of information that were acquired sometime in the past. Memory also refers to the processes that are involved in the acquisition of that information, the retention of that information over time, and its subsequent retrieval.
Although interest in the workings of memory dates back to the ancient Greek philosophers, the modern-day empirical study of memory traces its origins to the German psychologist, Hermann Ebbinghaus (1885/1964) who published a monograph entitled Memory: A Contribution to Experimental Psychology, which shifted the focus of memory study from philosophical inquiry to scientific investigation. Ebbinghaus’ greatest contribution was probably his demonstration that memory, although a construct of the mind and therefore thought to...
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