Thursday, October 29, 2009

self? (part VI)

The second species of content identified below is memory. Whether reflecting upon the self in abstract terms by invoking conceptual images or as an agent or patient in some sequence of events by invoking perceptual images, both feats are accomplished via memory. This species of article can be separated out into two subgenres: declarative and procedural.

Declarative memory is fact-based memory and takes its name from the notion that this type of memory can be an object of knowledge; it can be discussed or declared. Declarative memory can exist in one of two forms: episodic and semantic (see Table 1 below). Episodic memory is perceptual and casts one’s self as either agent or patient within a sequence that is marked by narrative tone or structure. Semantic memory is conceptual and is a record of facts versus experience. Examples of semantic memory include things like “I am white. I am thirty-three years old. I live in Ohio.”

Procedural memory is memory that is activated “subconsciously” and is typically related to conditioning or skill. Procedural memory may be a bodily memory such as how to play a musical instrument or ride a bicycle or it may be cognitive à la how to read or how to get home from school. Procedural memory, by definition, cannot be examined by the consciousness: any knowledge of procedural memory is actually meta-knowledge which constitutes a declarative memory of ability and not knowledge of the procedural memory itself.

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