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Johnson, M. K., & Hasher, L. (1987). Human learning and memory. In M. R. Rosenzweig & L. W. Porter (Eds.), Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 38 (pp. 631- 668). Palo Alto, CA: Annula Reviews.


We consider four general topics in this review of recent work in human memory: the representation of knowledge, relations among memory measures, unconscious and nonstrategic processing, and constraints on acquisition and remembering. In a final section, we also discuss examples of the expanded domains of research on human memory. Together, these research areas illustrate a number of important and interrelated themes and issues. The issue of relation between generic and specific knowledge appears in several contexts and remains a challenging theoretical question. Following earlier efforts to carve up memory into components, investigators continue to look for evidence of functional subsystems of memory. Findings from work on memory deficits have become central to this pursuit. Also important in this regard is the increasing variety of topics investigated. Each year, research in learning and memory comes closer to reflecting the wide range of functions that memory serves. Acquisition and forgetting are studied with direct measures of memory such as recall, recognition, frequency judgments, and source discrimination, as well with indirect measures such as lexical decision, perceptual identification, and word completion tasks. Explaining the pattern of differences among these measures is currently a major concern. Research on such difficult topics as test processing, spatial cognition, affect and memory, and autobiographical memory also highlights the complexity and flexibility of memory. Memory theories are not likely to capture this complexity and flexibility fully in the near future but should do so sooner as a consequence of current efforts from these many directions.

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