Speaker series
Evolution and the Social Mind
Speaker series
A Functional Analysis of Memory:
Remembering the Self and Other Persons
Stanley Klein
Department of Psychology, UCSB
March 13, 1998 at 12:30 - 2:00pm
IHC McCune Conference Room, HSSB 6020
Memory can be viewed as consisting of a number of functionally independent systems, each designed by evolution to accomplish a specific set of goals. Because these goals differ with respect to both the operations required for their successful achievement, as well as the representational format best suited to those ends, these different memory systems operate independently, although, they typically interact in performance of everyday memory tasks.

In my talk I will describe two memory systems that have received the bulk of theoretical and empirical attention over the last 25 years -- the episodic and semantic memory systems. I will then present evidence, both from normal subjects and from amnesic case studies, pointing toward the functional independence of these two systems. The amnesic material is particularly important because it allows us to view dissociations between two systems that interact so closely in normal memory operation that their independence is easily overlooked.

I then will discuss the role of these two systems in the representation and utilization of knowledge about self. Finally, I will attempt to provide one answer to the critically important, but seldom addressed question, "What is the functional basis for episodic and semantic memory?" My answer to this question will involve showing how interaction with the world would be altered if one had only  semantic (or episodic) memory. The evidence I will discuss will come from the domain of person memory -- how we represent knowledge about others and use that knowledge when making
judgments about the person's characteristics.

Stan Klein received his Ph.D. from Harvard's Dept. of Psychology, and is currently a member of UCSB's Psychology Department.  His research interests are in social cognition, with a particular focus on the mental representation of trait and behavioral knowledge about self and other persons.  A larger goal of this research is to determine the extent to which a common set of principles can explain the way in which knowledge of self and others are represented in the mind.

Selected Publications:

Klein, S.B., Loftus, J., and Kihlstrom, J.F. (1996). Self-knowledge of an amnesic patient: Toward a neuropsychology of personality and social psychology. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 125, 250-260.

Klein, S.B. and Loftus, J. (1993). The mental representation of trait and autobiographical knowledge about the self. In T.K. Srull & R.S. Wyer (Eds.), Advances in Social Cognition, Vol. 5, pp. 1-49, Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

CogWeb's Bibliography of Narrative and Neuroscience
Speaker series
Evolution and the Social Mind
Speaker series