Richard Semon was a German evolutionary biologist who wrote, during the first decade of the twentieth century, two fascinating analyses of the workings of human memory which were ahead of their time. Although these have been virtually unknown to modern researchers, Semon's work has been rediscovered during the past two decades and has begun to have an influence on the field. This book not only examines Semon's contribution to memory research, but also tells the story of an extraordinary life set against the background of a turbulent period in European history and major developments in science and evolutionary theory. The resulting book is an engaging blend of biographical, historical and psychological material.
Table of Contents
Preface by Endel Tulving. Introduction. Part I: The Story. Roots of the Drama. Haeckel, Monism, and the Dilemma of the German Jew. Journey and Exile. Battles Won and Lost. Prisoners in their Cells. Part II: The Issues. Organic Memory, Lamarkian Heresy, and Semon's Mneme. Retrieval: The Mnemonic Missing Link. Semon's Theory and the Modern Psychology of Memory. Revolutionaries, Cranks, and the Research Community: Perspectives on Unrecognized Scientific Contributions. The Psychology of the Isolated Scientist. Epilogue: Past, Present, and Future in Psychology. References. Author Index. Subject Index.
"In this interesting and unique book, Schacter (Harvard) examines the sociopsychological factors that determine one's recognition in the scientific world and provides a historical accounting of the study of memory. . Highly recommended for college and university libraries." -- P. Barker, emerita, Schenectady County Community College in CHOICE, May 2002.
"A fascinating story, told with narrative vigor and scholarly depth, and an important contribution to the history of the study of the human mind." -- Steven Pinker, Peter de Florez Professor of Psychology, MIT, and author of How the Mind Works.
"This wonderful book contains two treats - a fascinating biography of a nearly forgotten figure in memory research, and an engaging discussion of the history and psychology of science. Written by one of the leading researchers on human memory, the book is beautifully written, informative, and full of interesting observations about how science works." -- Larry R. Squire, Professor of Psychiatry, Neurosciences and Psychology, University of California, San Diego and VA Medical Center, San Diego