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Dynamic Memory. A Theory of Reminding and Learning in Computers and People - Schank R.C.

Schank R.C. Dynamic Memory. A Theory of Reminding and Learning in Computers and People - Cambridge University Press, 1982. - 250 p.
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Now, the question is, can we ever get reminded of something that is not from a close match in an identical structure? It is obvious that people do get reminded across contextually-bounded structures of the type we have been using for illustration here. That is, a reminded event can have something in common with the initial event, but that common element does not have to be its physical or societal situation. But how can such reminding occur, if all memories are stored in terms of structures such as the scripts of Schank and Abelson (1977)?
It is obvious that it cannot. As we said in that book, many different types of structures govern processing. We made distinctions between plan application, goal tracking, and script application, often seeming to suggest that the correct level of processing flitted from one to the other. What seems clear now is that memories are stored at all levels and that processing of inputs must take place on each level
That is, at the same time that we are applying a script-like structure, we are also processing the same input in a number of different ways. To find out what those other ways are, we must take a look at other kinds of reminding,.
Dynamic memory
Goal-based reminding
In processing an input we are not only attempting to understand each event that happens as an event itself. We are also attempting to get a larger picture, to see the forest for the trees so to speak We not only want to know what happened but why it happened, Thus we must track goals.
An example here will serve to illustrate goal-based reminding. Someone told me about an experience of waiting on a long line at the post office and noticing that the person ahead had been waiting all that time to buy one stamp. This reminded me of people who buy a dollar or two of gas in a gas station.
What could be the connection? One possibility is that I had characterized such motorists as people who prefer to do annoying tasks over and over when they could have done them less often if they had purchased larger quantities in the first place. Now such a category is extremely bizarre, That is, it is unlikely that there is such a structure in memory. The existence of so complex a structure would imply that we are simply creating and matching categories in our heads in order to be reminded. As this seems rather unreasonable, we must look for some more realistic way of explaining such a reminding.
Recall that processing considerations are intimately connected with memory categorizations. If we ask what kind of processing issues might be in common between the post office experience and the gas station experience, we find that in the goal-based analysis of the kind we have proposed in Schank and Abelson (1977), there is a very obvious similarity here. Both stories related to goal subsumption failures (Wilensky, 1978). In processing any story we are trying to find out why the actor did what he did. Questions about the motivations of an actor are made and answered until a level of goal-based or theme-based explanation is reached. In this story, why the person bought a stamp is easy, as is why he stood in line. But good goal-based processing should note that this story is without point if only those two goals are tracked (Schank & Wilensky, 1977). The point of the story is that the actor’s behavior was somehow unusual. This unusualness was his failure to think about the future. In particular, he could have saved himself future effort by buying more stamps either before now or at this time . But he failed to subsume this goal. Thus the story is telling us about a goal-subsumption failure of a particular kind, Understanding this story involves understanding the kind of goal-subsumption failure that occurred.
Thus there are a set of memories organized by goal-subsumption fail-
Reminding and memory
ures in much the same way as script-like structures organized memories earlier, Here too, there are a set of indices on particular kinds of goal-subsumption failures, One of these has to do with waiting in line for service. That is where the gas station experience sits in memory. The new post office experience is processed using structures that track goals. At the same time it is being processed using structures that carry expectations based upon particular contexts. As it happens there are no relevant processing predictions that come from the sciipt-like structures here. The contexts in the reminding aie quite different. But the goal tracking causes a reminding that can have potentially useful consequences if it is desirable to attempt to understand the motivations of the actor in the events that were described, Our assertion is that, as processors we always seek an understanding of why people do what they do. Reminding that occurs in response to our questioning ourselves about why an actor did what he did can be useful for making significant generalizations (i.e., learning), In other words, attempting to understand at the level of goals can lead to a generalization that may be valid in future processing.
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