Encyclopedia of the History of Psychological Theories

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert W. Rieber

Theories of Memory, History of

  • David J. Murray
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0463-8_14


In attempting to formulate a history of theories of memory, it must be noted that the English word “memory” itself has a broadness of application that is not paralleled in other languages. In French, the words la mémoire refer to the ability that the mind–brain system has for retaining representations both of internal events and of external reality; and the words un souvenir refer to an individual retained representation generally identified by its content (referent). For example, if one wanted to translate the question, “Do insects have memory?” into French, one would use la mémoire as an equivalent for the English word “memory.” But if one wanted to translate the question “How strong is your memory of your first day at school?” one would use le souvenir. An analogous classification is found in German, where memory-the-ability is translated as das Gedächtnis and an individually experienced memory representation is translated as eine Erinnerung.

These observations lead to...

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Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Murray
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada