Richard Semon:
DIE MNEME (1904)

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(Copyright © 2000 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

German biologist Richard Semon was the first to speculate that memory must be as much about retrieval as about storage. He introduced the concept of "engram": the unit of memory, or, better, the pattern used to encode it (the "memory trace"). He then introduced another concept: the "ecphoric stimulus": the cue that helps retrieve a specific memory. He noticed that the likelihood of finding a memory depends also on the cue that is used to retrieve it (the pattern used to decode it). We are often forced to remember something simply because we encountered a word or saw something that "reminds" us of something else. It was merely a fleeing moment, but enough to bring back the memory of something or somebody. Semon realized the power of cues: a cue is only a fraction of the engram, but it is enough to retrieve the whole engram.

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