Extended Memory, the Extended Mind, and the Nature of Technology-Mediated Memory Enhancement.
In, 1st ITA Workshop on Network-Enabled Cognition: The Contribution of Social and Technological Networks to Human Cognition, Maryland, USA,
Human memory is a key focus of scientific and theoretical attention within a range of disciplines, and it is also an important target of efforts that seek to improve aspects of human cognitive function. The phenomenon of memory is also something that has been seen as a key test for theories of distributed, situated and extended cognition, not least because memory seems to take us out of the current situation and put us in psychological contact with a set of previously experienced state-of-affairs. In addition to the challenge posed to extended cognition accounts, memory also raises interesting issues when it comes to the potential impact of certain new techniques and technologies, all of which seem poised to exert some effect on our mnemonic functioning. For example, the increasing availability of life-logging technologies, coupled with the increasing use of the Web as a storage medium for personal data, raises important questions about the potential of the Web to ‘enhance’ our mnemonic capabilities. The aims of this particular paper are threefold. The first aim is to review the literature relating to cognitive extension and the extended mind and to illustrate how these ideas are relevant to the case of memory. A second aim is to consider the value of an extended cognition account in thinking about memory phenomena. The focus here is on the role played by external (non-biological) physical and social resources in shaping our mnemonic capabilities. A third and final aim for the paper is to consider a variety of issues related to the design of memory technologies. Important areas of discussion here include the extent to which memory technologies should aim to support the accurate recall of previously experienced information, as well as the role of biology in guiding the design of memory technologies.
Actions (login required)