Explaining short-term memory phenomena with an integrated episodic/semantic framework of long-term memory

Michael S. Humphreys, Gerald Tehan, Oliver Baumann, Shayne Loft

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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Current thinking about human memory is dominated by distinctions between episodic and semantic memory and between short-term memory (STM) and long-term memory (LTM). However, many memory phenomena seem to cut across these distinctions. This article attempts to set the groundwork for the issues that need to be resolved in generating an integrated model of long-term memory that incorporates semantic, episodic, and short-term memory. We contrast Nairne’s (2002, Annual Review of Psychology) consensus account of short-term memory with a relatively generic theory of an integrated episodic-semantic memory. The later consists primarily of a list of principles which we and others argue are necessary to include in any theory of long-term memory. We then add some more specific assumptions to outline a modern theory of forgetting. We then turn to the issue of much of the phenomena thought to necessitate a dedicated short-term memory can be explained by an integrated theory of episodic and semantic memory. Our conclusion is that an integrated theory of long-term memory must be augmented to explain a small number of outstanding memory phenomena. Finally, we ask whether the augmentation needs to involve a dedicated mnemonic system, or sensory or language-based systems, which also have mnemonic capabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101346
Number of pages24
JournalCognitive Psychology
Early online date16 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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