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Memory Perception and Attention

1. Fodor presents four alternative mental structures. Provide opinion and support for which of the four is superior to the others.

2. Compare Cui et al., Kelley & Lavie, and Ericsson & Kintsch regarding their overlapping methods. Design an experimental approach to further verify the Ericsson-Kintsch argument for the existence of long-term working memory (heretofore thought only to hold information for a matter of a few seconds) and justify the methodology(ies) chosen. [250 word count.] In text, citation required. Two scholarly references should be included in addition to [Friedenberg, J., & Silverman, G. (2006). Cognitive science: An introduction to the study of mind. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Write in 3rd person scholarly writing. No quotes please. This is a personally developed question not an assignment or home work.

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OK, again, we have the problem where a 3 hour long assignment was not foreseen by me. There is no human way to describe this complexity in 250 words. That would be absurd and impossible.
So you got 5 single spaced pages, any less would be incomplete and unhelpful.

Fodor presents four alternative mental structures. Provide opinion and support for which of the four is superior to the others.

The four models of mental structures presented by Fodor are well known. Loosely, they are the system of Rene Descartes, Functional Architecture (vertical and horizontal), and Associationism. These are listed in the order of their specificity, from the most complex to the non-existent.

Descartes defended the concept of innate mental structures (that then shape reality) as opposed to the empiricist school, whose brain was a merely passive instrument. Memory, at least in the later formulations of the approach, stressed that there were two levels of function: that of mechanism and that of higher order propositional thinking. Memory here is similar to a bodily organ. What matters is that the development of the general human mind is programmed into the system itself. Propositions are higher order reasoning and have nothing in common with mechanisms at all and yet, they are tightly related, no doubt by the pituitary gland Descartes was so obsessed with. The one is the base, the other, the principle of action.

This is a newer model on the Cartesian schema, and one that has conceptual problems that need to be addressed. Propositions in this view come first, prior to the actual mechanism of mental functions. These are created later by a mechanism of which we know nothing. Then, these propositions (ie truth claims of greater or lesser generality) are translated by yet another invisible entity into human action, which is termed a mechanism (presupposing total determinism). This is a contradictory theory that cannot stand even a brief conceptual analysis.

The horizontal approach to functionalism stresses that cognitive processes are the most basic structure. Through experience, more focused objects are added to it such as perception or will (or attention). The main issue is the location of the specific memories. The content is variable and not inherent to the system. The method of arranging the memories, the "form" of the structure itself, is intrinsic and hence significant. Function is crucial. They combine to create a single, unified system of thought that is then brought to bear on reality as a whole. It is not fragmented into specialized compartments.

The vertical approach is reductionist, trying to reduce the formal structure of the mind to more basic causes. These then become more abstract. They include general dispositions and vocations that do not determine behavior, but influence it. These abstractions contain very little actual content inherently, and cannot be associated with any kind of inborn talent. There is no single intellect, but the cognizing function focuses its attention over time to specific areas. This is a "social" approach to mind that derives directly from social functionalism in sociology.

The most reductionist, of course, is associationism. It is exists for one sole purpose: it can be summarized in a few words. That is its sole redeeming value and explains its long lasting popularity. Associationism, as is typical with these theories uses terms like memory or brain only as analogies. They do not believe that the random crashing of atoms actually creates anything (like Darwin rejected any concept of "species" since these were not stable forms). Reflex, association through time,reinforcement, and the typical boundaries of experience that are given in one's life.

Associationism cannot be described accurately, since ...

Solution Summary

Memory perception and attention for mental structures are examined.