Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Major

Philosophy

Date of Defense

12-28-2007

Graduate Advisor

Gualtiero Piccinini

Committee

Robert Northcott

Anna Alexandrova

Abstract

Transfer occurs when something is learned under particular circumstances and is applied in a new, somehow different, situation. This paper will argue that fuzzy-trace theory can be used to explain the process of transfer. The advantage of fuzzy-trace theory is found in a dual-process theory of memory. Fuzzy-trace theory explains a broad range of phenomena and has the strength to conquer the elusive problem of transfer. Trace-cue compatibility theory is a theory of memory retrieval. By combining the trace-cue compatibility theory with fuzzy-trace theory, we get a method for treating both memory storage and memory retrieval. This combination provides a powerful mechanism for understanding the results of classic experiments on transfer. We can explain transfer in terms of particular forms of memory being cued by an event. In many cases, the cued memory is an analog for the target item. When the target analog has been mapped onto the appropriate memory trace, transfer can occur.

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