Two Informational Theories of Memory: a case from Memory-Conjunction Errors

Disputatio 12 (59):395-431 (2020)
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Abstract

The causal and simulation theories are often presented as very distinct views about declarative memory, their major difference lying on the causal condition. The causal theory states that remembering involves an accurate representation causally connected to an earlier experience. In the simulation theory, remembering involves an accurate representation generated by a reliable memory process. I investigate how to construe detailed versions of these theories that correctly classify memory errors as misremembering or confabulation. Neither causalists nor simulationists have paid attention to memory-conjunction errors, which is unfortunate because both theories have problems with these cases. The source of the difficulty is the background assumption that an act of remembering has one target. I fix these theories for those cases. The resulting versions are closely related when implemented using tools of information theory, differing only on how memory transmits information about the past. The implementation provides us with insights about the distinction between confabulatory and non-confabulatory memory, where memory-conjunction errors have a privileged position.

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Danilo Fraga Dantas
Federal University of Paraiba

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