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Social memory strategies KNEW 2013 Fredrik Stjernberg Linköping University.

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Presentation on theme: "Social memory strategies KNEW 2013 Fredrik Stjernberg Linköping University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social memory strategies KNEW 2013 Fredrik Stjernberg fredrik.stjernberg@liu.se Linköping University

2 Outline ”Social memory strategy” – other views of memory – internal/external Examples from theatre Examples from old subjects with memory impairment Not experts! Memory as activity Other questions, future research Conclusions Social memory strategies Stjernberg2

3 Take-home message: Inner-outer distinction for cognition/memory less useful – hard to draw a line, and too many overlapping cases We structure the activities and surroundings – and they structure us (important from an evolutionary perspective) Memory best seen as a process, an activity, not contents Therefore the classical vehicle-content picture of cognition isn’t very suitable Social memory strategies Stjernberg3

4 Common picture of memory: Internal memory vs External memory Social memory strategies Stjernberg4

5 Internal memory Often seen as ”real memory” (what you really know) Assumes that we have an internal deposit of memory material, accessible to the subject Social memory strategies Stjernberg5

6 External memory Seen as extensions of the internal content. (sometimes seen as ”cheating”) Social memory strategies Stjernberg6

7 Wrong distinction Memory should not be seen as a ”content”, being put either inside or outside the speaker. Memory is better seen as a special kind of activity. Social memory strategies Stjernberg7

8 Looking for a clear distinction between internal and external memories not fruitful. Not a “natural kind”. There are counterexamples and tricky cases, no matter which way we want to draw a distinction. But this is not a problem. Looking for a sharp internal-external distinction for memory will not be useful for scientific purposes. The real work for memory studies lies elsewhere. Social memory strategies Stjernberg8

9 Mind as activity Tribble and Sutton 2011, p. 94: ”Mind” is skilful activity rather than a stock of knowledge: the analysis of mind must therefore be fundamentally historical in character, because changing cultural artifacts, norms, and institutions are not external but partly consitute it. Social memory strategies Stjernberg9

10 The real task is to examine how memory works in aiding us to handle the world Social memory strategies Stjernberg10

11 Distributed remembering This is accomplished through organizing the world in various ways, and making opportunistic use of the ways the world already is organized – letting the world organize us Social memory strategies Stjernberg11

12 Social memory strategies A ”social memory strategy” is an activity where the surroundings are organized in such a way as to enable cognitive work, or simply coping Social memory strategies Stjernberg12

13 ”Social”? Does it have to be social, involving other subjects? Social memory strategies Stjernberg13

14 ”Social”? Does it have to be social, involving other subjects? Yes, or at least involving the subject’s physical surroundings. Social memory strategies Stjernberg14

15 ”Memory”? Is it really fair to call this memory? Social memory strategies Stjernberg15

16 ”Memory”? Is it really fair to call this memory? There may be some occasional overuse of the term, but in general it is justified – especially if we start thinking of memory as an activity, rather than as a bunch of contents Social memory strategies Stjernberg16

17 ”Strategy”? Is it really sufficiently deliberate to be called a strategy? Social memory strategies Stjernberg17

18 ”Strategy”? Is it really sufficiently deliberate to be called a strategy? As in for instance evolutionary game theory, there is no need to insist that a strategy would have to be consciously executed Social memory strategies Stjernberg18

19 So talk of a ”social memory strategy” is not like talk of the Holy Roman Empire! Social memory strategies Stjernberg19

20 Causally enabling or contentful? Some think that external memory props just are causally useful – jogging our memory into getting things right, and that they are not integral parts of the content. But this distinction doesn’t really work. Social memory strategies Stjernberg20

21 From inner to outer Mnemonics Hand Stuff in the immediate surroundings Other speakers Internet Social memory strategies Stjernberg21

22 Mnemonics: ”My very educated mother just served us nine pizzas” or ”… served us nachos” (nine or eight planets) Social memory strategies Stjernberg22

23 Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November. All the rest have thirty-one, Excepting February alone, And that has twenty-eight days clear, And twenty-nine in each leap year… Social memory strategies Stjernberg23

24 ”Pie. I wish I could remember! Pi” 3. 1 4 1 5 9 2 Social memory strategies Stjernberg24

25 Rhymes, blank verse, melodies – the content is partly outsourced to some kind of scaffolding Social memory strategies Stjernberg25

26 Hands Social memory strategies Stjernberg26

27 Right-hand rule Using your right-hand: Curl your fingers into a half-circle around the wire, they point in the direction of the magnetic field, B Point your thumb in the direction of the conventional current. Social memory strategies Stjernberg27

28 Outer stuff A path through the woods – makes it possible to navigate the woods without thinking too much about the ”correct way” (Is this even to be counted as something cognitive? Yes.) Social memory strategies Stjernberg28

29 Familiar examples Social memory strategies Stjernberg29

30 Coffee cups Social memory strategies Stjernberg30

31 More coffee cups Social memory strategies Stjernberg31

32 Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Social memory strategies Stjernberg32

33 Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre How could the actors remember all their lines? – One actor had to know many parts – Large amount of stuff to master – Virtually no rehearsals – Very little time to learn new material Social memory strategies Stjernberg33

34 Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, contd. Plots Parts Physical layout of the stage – two doors, probably used very consistently: one for entering, one for exiting Social memory strategies Stjernberg34

35 Shakespeare’s stage Social memory strategies Stjernberg35

36 Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, contd. ”To look on earth no more” ”To look on death no more” (Richard III) ”But as ill luck would have it” ”But as the devil would have it” (Henry IV) Such differences not noted by audience Social memory strategies Stjernberg36

37 Old people, with memory losses These cases are interesting because they are not studies of trained experts in a limited area, but rather something where we all are experts to some degree: managing our daily business Social memory strategies Stjernberg37

38 A puzzle: Old people often show decline in memory in laboratory settings, but manage very well in their familiar environment – just as well as much younger people Social memory strategies Stjernberg38

39 Old people, contd. ”Memory? No, I don’t have that!” One of the informants in the ethnographic study by Kristiansson. Social memory strategies Stjernberg39

40 Old people, with memory losses, contd. Some complex strategies were found, some others were more a matter of luck, or just holding on to something without much thought Social memory strategies Stjernberg40

41 Letting someone else jog your memory Great reliance on partners, not just for letting the other one recall some things, but for having the partner keep in mind what the first one actually remembered Social memory strategies Stjernberg41

42 Redundancy Social memory strategies Stjernberg42

43 Resilience through redundancies Many of our older subjects systematically used redundant organization of their surroundings Social memory strategies Stjernberg43

44 Other examples of social memory strategies Cooking – the surroundings are your extended mind to arrive at the proper result. (Helps explain why cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen is so frustrating) Social memory strategies Stjernberg44

45 Further issues Research on memory and distributed cognition should focus on the process of remembering through detailed descriptions and analysis of naturally occurring situations. Lab settings often deceptive. Ethnographic studies will be useful. Social memory strategies Stjernberg45

46 Co-workers This work was done in cooperation with: Nils Dahlbäck, Linköping University Mattias Kristiansson, Linköping University Social memory strategies Stjernberg46

47 References Clark & Chalmers 1998. ”The extended mind”, Analysis Dahlbäck, Kristiansson, Stjernberg 2013. ”Distributed Remembering Through Active Structuring of Activities and Environments”, Review of Psychology and Philosophy Shanon 1990, ”The knot in the handkerchief”, Metaphor and Symbolic Activity 5 Tribble, E.B. 2005. “Distributing cognition in the globe”, Shakespeare Quarterly 56(2): 135–155. Tribble, E.B. 2011. Cognition in the Globe: Attention and memory in Shakespeare’s theatre. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Social memory strategies Stjernberg47


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