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Remembering From the Outside: Spatial Perspectival Properties

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The literature on observer perspective memory typically holds that it is a phenomenon that is dependent on reconstructive processes at the moment of retrieval. On such an understanding all visual memory imagery would be encoded from a field perspective, and the change to an observer perspective would occur at retrieval. This line of thought may explain why older memories are often recalled from an observer perspective. Information that was initially encoded as a field perspective becomes semanticised over time, where contextual details are lost, and is eventually reconstructed from an observer perspective. But if one acknowledges the wholly (re)constructive nature of memory one must also consider the context of encoding. One must also consider the possibility that some experiences are encoded into observer memories. The constructive processes involved in memory encoding are thought to involve selection (where only certain stimuli are encoded), abstraction (where meaning is abstracted from the information selected and some content is lost), interpretation (where relevant prior knowledge is invoked to interpret the event), and integration (in which a holistic representation is formed from the products of the selection, abstraction, and interpretation processes). Importantly, these same constructive processes will be employed in the encoding of both field and observer perspectives, but may select for the salient information in both cases. It is not the case that observer perspectives necessarily involve more construction. Perhaps most experiences will unfold while we are attending to information that is apposite for the construction of field perspective memories. But sometimes, in some circumstances, the information that has been selected, abstracted, and interpreted from an event will be integrated and encoded into an observer memory. In such cases, observer perspectives are neither false nor distorted memories. Remembering from-the-outside may accurately. . .

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News source: Philosophy of Mind – The Brains Blog

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