Memory for Actions
Psychology Press – 1998
Series: Essays in Cognitive Psychology
Psychological experiments demonstrate that we remember self-performed actions better and more easily than actions performed by others, which we only perceived, or actions which were only reported to us. In everyday life, we remember whether or not we have already performed certain actions. Questions such as "Did you get some petrol?", "Did you pay the waiter?", "Have you posted the letter?" as a rule can be answered without difficulty. It would be embarrassing if we could not remember whether or not we had done something. Imagine forgetting that you had just put petrol in the car, and immediately driving into the next gas station to fill up again, or forgetting that you had paid the waiter in a restaurant, and trying to pay again. It is the aim of this book to explain why we remember our own actions so well. In doing so, it offers a comprehensive survey of research and theory in this field of memory psychology. The author describes the development of research in the light of recent theory. The broader objective of the book is to contribute to a theory of episodic memory. Although the study of memory for actions was derived from general assumptions about episodic memory, the studies quickly revealed new and surprising memory phenomena. Specific laws of memory for self-performed actions are discussed, which are entirely distinct from the laws of verbal learning.
'Memory for Actions should be read by all those interested in action and memory, including those, on the applied side, who deal with training, sport activities, education, and clinical problems raised by memory impairments.' - Marc Jeannerod, Institute of Cognitive Sciences, France, American Journal of Psychology
Preface. Introduction. Explanations for Episodic Memory. Early Findings and Explanations for the Retention of Self-performed Tasks. Theoretical Integration I: Actions as Described by the Multimodal Theory. Empirical Inconsistencies and Theoretical Controversies. Theoretical Integration II: Expansion and Differentiation of the Multimodal Theory. Recent Studies on Encoding and Retrieval. Theoretical Integration III: Inclusion of Retrieval Processes. Memory for Actions and its Implications for Theories on Episodic Memories. Widening the Perspective. References. Author Index. Subject Index.