Models of memory


This course is all about learning to think scientifically — to use a large body of knowledge to recognize situations that seem new and to solve problems that you might never have seen before. (In medicine, these skills are required both in diagnosis and in designing appropriate interventions.) To develop these skills you have to both learn lots of facts and procedures, but you also have to learn to bring them to mind in appropriate situations when you need them.

Surprisingly, most of the errors students make in this class — and that doctors make in practice — are not because of things they don't know, but because of things they know but don't use. We've said that science is not just about how the world works, but about how we can think about how the world works. As a result, knowing something about how we think — and how your mind might lead you astray, it helps to understand a bit about how your mind works — your memory, where you store what you know, and how you use and access it. This helps you defend against the most common types of errors your brain can lead you into.

In the pages that follow this one, we give a small taste of what is know about how the mind functions and what you can do to build tools to increase the reliability of your conclusions. It's called doing science!

Joe Redish 7/3/11


Article 229
Last Modified: March 11, 2019