Chapter

Concluding observations, with steps toward neuroscience

Nelson Cowan

in Attention and Memory

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780195119107
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199870097 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195119107.003.0008

Series: Oxford Psychology Series

 Concluding observations, with steps toward neuroscience

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The chapter emphasizes a level of analysis at which subdivisions are avoided until shown to be fundamental. It helps especially in investigations of short-term memory, selective attention, and the relationship between them. Fundamental, seemingly obvious concepts actually have been questioned in the literature and so are revisited. The chapter summarizes ways in which memory and attention appear to be closely interrelated. This is important because it includes observations that could be drawn only by aggregating across previous chapters. Directions for evolution of the theoretical framework are considered. The cognitive concepts are mapped onto brain structures. Moreover, both behavioral and brain research methods are challenged to make the best use of multiple levels of analysis. In this regard, even positing a homunculus, a portion of the mind that somehow carries out volition, is useful to divide human information processing into subcategories, allowing some of them to be better understood.

Keywords: brain research; cognitive concepts; theoretical framework; homunculus; human information processing; levels of analysis; subdivisions; selective attention; short-term memory; volition

Chapter.  15299 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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