The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 91–103 | Cite as

Mediationism and the Obfuscation of Memory

  • Michael J. Watkins


Memory theorizing is going nowhere. The reason is that it is rooted in mediationism, the doctrine that memory is mediated by some sort of memory trace. Mediationism is the basic tenet of those who seek the substrate of memory; for students of memory per se it is merely a metaphor, and moreover an unfruitful one, for it cannot be penetrated by the methods of psychology. The rejection of mediationism would serve both to replace mechanistic theories with laws or other modes of explanation and to focus research on the actual experience of memory and on the context in which it occurs. The ensuing advantages are discussed and illustrated.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Watkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRice UniversityHoustonUSA

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