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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

Spring 1991, Vol. 3, No. 2, Pages 95-116
(doi: 10.1162/jocn.1991.3.2.95)
© 1991 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cognitive Neuroscience Analyses of Memory: A Historical Perspective
Article PDF (2.76 MB)

As part of the general trend toward interdisciplinary research in recent years, a growing number of investigators have come to consider both cognitive and neuroscientific perspectives when theorizing about memory. Although such cognitive neuroscience analyses are a relatively recent development, the approach has precedents in earlier scientific thinking about memory. In this article we present a historical review of three major issues in memory research---consolidation processes, the nature of memory representations, and multiple memory systems. We discuss the nature of the relation between cognitive and neuroscientific approaches to each of these issues with respect to the distinction between collateral, complementary, and convergent relations (Schacter, 1986). Although some early investigators offered analyses that linked psychological and physiological perspectives, there is little historical evidence of systematic or sustained interdisciplinary research. However, more recent work, especially with respect to hypotheses about memory systems, suggests progress toward establishing programmatic interdisciplinary research.