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April 1937


Author Affiliations


Arch NeurPsych. 1937;37(4):748-764. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1937.02260160048005

A discussion of amnesia must involve both physiologic and psychologic concepts. The functions of which "amnesia" denotes the absence should be conceived as constituting a process for which "remembering" is an appropriate name, since it suggests activity, in preference to "memory," which suggests something passive only. Memory in this limited sense of a trace which influences subsequent reactions is something very old in the history of organisms. It is even found in nonliving material of such simple structure as a gel.1

Remembering, as I use it here, is an activity of the ego, or of the "highest level" of the organism, in Hughling Jackson's sense. "Remembering is not the excitation of innumerable fixed, lifeless and fragmentary traces. It is the imaginative reconstruction built out of the relation of our attitude towards a whole mass of organised past reactions of experience" (Bartlett2).

These reconstructions Bartlett called "schemata." It is

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