Running head: MEMORY IN RESPONSE 1
A New Perspective on Memory when Eliciting a Response
San Francisco State University
MEMORY IN RESPONSE 2
Any learner must reference a schema of memory that has been influenced by every prior
experience to allow for elicitation of a response. The efficient ability to discern the most
beneficial response gives way to the development of a cognitive Memorage as a storage of
experience to be referenced after stimulation. Through evolution, advanced memory, such as in
humans, has formed an intricate yet malleable relative image of how the world is perceived to be
to allow for consciousness. Consciousness is often viewed as an awareness of reality, but instead
it should be seen as but a complex Memorage of memories making constant associations to allow
Keywords: Memory; Behavioral Learning; Conditioning; Memorage; Cognitive
MEMORY IN RESPONSE 3
A New Perspective on Memory when Eliciting a Response
The behaviorist perspective describes changes in action as a response to an environmental
stimulus (Standridge, 2002). Every behavior changes due to enduring the stimulus-response
process called conditioning. An individual will elicit the response deemed to be the most relevant
by referencing what he has previously learned. Necessary in eliciting any response is an
elaborate cognitive Memorage. The Memorage(the storage) will provisionally be the denotation
of mentality as a relative, malleable, and continuously purging storage of the outcome of learned
experiences to be referenced during stimulation. Thus, from henceforth, activities related to what
has come to be known as mentality will be denoted as involving memorage (the stored
information), as for the topics discussed, it is a more suitable description. For conditioning to
occur, the learner must reference the parts of prior events that remain stored within their memory
for the appropriate response to elicit (Holyoak; Koh; & Nisbett, 1989). To provide a strong and
accurate response to stimuli is the reasoning for cognition and the goal of learning in general,
leading to the necessity for a precise Memorage that acts not only as a container for learned
information but as well, a controller for action.
If humans and animals learn the same, why do humans think so differently from them? A
primary reason for this is because of a well-developed and superior ability of mental storage
(Premack, 2007). According to Edward Thorndike (1911) the circumstances under which humans
learn are analogous to those of which animals learn. Because humans and animals learn the
same, it is inferable that the mental apparatus of both, no matter how weak or strong, must be
similar. Premack felt the major difference in the two is a combination of intricate formation and
application; the human cognition is formed more complexly and can be applied more versatilely.
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The human memorage has become so complex to the extent that theoretically it is what has been
identified as ‘cognition;’ because, as stated before, it’s made up of memories, not just as
keepsakes but as directions for how to respond and essentially how to act.
2. Memory Within Classical Conditioning
Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov’s research on conditioning unveiled that his dogs
associated the distinct footsteps of those who had previously brought them their meal with the
meal itself. From this ability to ‘learn from experience’, the animals were able to expect future
action and begin salivating, as they had so beneficially done, under prior circumstances (Pavlov,
1928). His findings revealed that for the two stimuli, unconditioned stimulus and the neutral
stimulus, to be associated, they had to consistently be presented in a close period of time
revolving around the response. He deemed this the Law of Temporal Contiguity. Temporal
contiguity is necessary in between the stimulation and the response to allow the learner to retain
the reliability of the association (i.e., that what has happened before will happen again), whether
reflexively or consciously. Presentation within a close time period is necessary to allow for
meaningful memory of the events.
3. Learning Through the Sensorimotor Stage
Jean Piaget is most well-known for his studies and explanations of cognitive development
in children. A fundamental step in the study of mental development is the explanation of how
thinking begins. Piaget (1952) described a child’s primitive cognition to be a mental schema into
which his images of the world are either accommodated or assimilated. Because memorage is
essentially knowledge, every time something new is learned, whether necessary or not, due to a
lack of knowing, one’s memorage has fluctuated and adapted. Piaget denoted this change as
either accommodation or assimilation which is, like Premack stated, more precise in humans due
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to their better capacity to remember. Meaning that the way one thinks of a concept, item, action,
or anything else of mentally stored relation to what has just been noticed, will now change due to
the incorporation of new information. He rightfully realized that this explanation centered around
reflexes because they are essentially the mental process a child brings into the world that can and
are developed upon. Piaget also emphasized that a child must learn through experimentation of
trial and error because he has yet to develop accurate memories of the outcome of events and
abilities to well anticipate the future.
4. Memorage as a New Perspective
While agreeing with Beck (2014), Bandura (1986), and other cognitive psychologists that
believe cognition mediates the relationship between stimulus and response, this paper argues that
that cognition must be in the form of memorage. An individual's Memorage of how the world has
been prior, develops a mental image of how the world is believed to be currently to allow for
reasoning and mentality. This is crucial to the process of conditioning because an action changes
solely on the learner’s confidence that his previous experiences will either have the same
negative effects in the future, and should not be repeated, or vice versa. The placebo effect is a
valid demonstration of the strength and influence of memory in the causation of a present
reaction. This process is stronger through variations of reinforcement and punishment because
experience is not always significant enough to be deemed as possibly recurrent. Certain choices
made by the child are maintained in the presence of the similar stimuli due to a reinforcement of
external influence, or lack thereof (political party, sports teams, life partners, etc.).
Because humans are animals, the conviction that all creatures learn the same stands true.
For many animals, though learning may seem simple enough to just be responses to stimuli, it is
not. This is due to memory, whether it is reflexive or not, as B.F. Skinner (1938) recognized
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through his trials with birds showing the complexity of operant conditioning. For humans,
conditioning becomes more complex due to their extensive memorage(retention) capacities. The
animal’s response comes from its use of prior knowledge to elicit a future decision as the
appropriate one. These decisions are usually predictable due to discernable prior conditioning
such as a dog staying away from an electric fence due to a prior shock.
A human decision may be far more difficult to determine because of their superiorly
functioning Memorages, as Premack believed (though in his own wording). Superiorly
functioning does not solely mean the ability to retain more or earlier learned information. The
human hippocampal capacity to discard with and retain certain information, specifically dealing
with patterns, is what is superior to that of all other species (Mattson, 2014). This capability is
not found in either the stimulus nor response, but instead is found in between, in the reasoning
made from prior similar stimuli to justify current responses. According to Mattson, the purging
ability of the brain to store that which is utilized or reinforced and discard with that which is
unnecessary has become elaborate enough to be identified as cognition. This explanation is not
simply belittling the astounding mentality humans possess to a strong ability to memorize
because it is meant to change the depiction of ‘memory’ as more than just memorization. Operant
and Classical Conditioning can be seen as the patterns for which the brain encodes certain
knowledge in the hopes of optimization of its Memorage; which actions should be repeated, and
which should be inhibited.
Why a child of up to about three or four years old is about as smart as an orangutan
(Stark, 2015) can be attributed to the child’s lack of learned experiences and therefore lack of
developed memorage. Because though the child has the aptitude to advance its cognitive
processing, at a young age its lack of experience, strong memory, and accurate associational
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ability is analogous to that of an average chimpanzee. The chimpanzee, on the other hand, does
not hold the aptitude to create reference abilities efficient enough to outperform a child of a
young age. Through the same logic, though tentative, weaker cognitive development in certain
animals as compared to others can be attributed to underdeveloped Memorages containing either
more flawed purging capabilities or purely weaker retention capacities.
5. Memorage of Schemas
Formerly, mental schemas were mentioned as the knowledge structures that underlie all
thinking, as discovered by Jean Piaget. What is indispensable in his work is that a child’s mental
schema develops from reflexes, and though these schemas underlie all knowledge of the world, a
child’s does not need to resemble anything like that of an adult’s. The similarities between the
two were found not in the structure, but instead in the function.
Mental schemas can be and are constantly adapted by the environment to allow for
human cognitive development. Schemas are advanced through assimilation (adapting the newly
learned stimulus to the known world) and accommodation (adapting the known world to the
newly learned stimulus). Therefore, if Piaget's Schemas are seen as the 'building blocks' of
organized knowledge (i.e., chunking), it can be theorized that these blocks are memory sections
to allow for efficiency of retrieval and the Memorage should be seen as the 'building' of which
they make up. This association is how Pavlov’s dogs were able to link the sounds of the
researchers with the food they brought. The dogs, much like a young child or grown chimp,
knew a small world in which the researchers were nothing more than precursors to food. From
this their memorage was sculpted by the continuously reinforced credibility of the response of
salivating. The incorporation and expansion of a Memorage of schemas is how knowledge is
MEMORY IN RESPONSE 8
ramified and the world is created from the perspective of the mind as accurately and beneficially
as possible from relative history.
6. Operant Conditioning in the Expansion of the Memorage
B.F. Skinner was the most proficient advocator for operant conditioning. This form of
conditioning suggests that an animal learns through means of reinforcement and punishment. His
ideology explains Piaget’s view of how an adult’s memorage of the world can be so different
from that of a child. The trial and error used as a child to incorporate into the mental schema
works through Skinner’s operant conditioning. Through the positive or negative punishments and
reinforcements of certain outcomes, humans create a relative general depiction of the world that
becomes more elaborate and complex with time.
Where memory factors into the equation of stimulus-response is directly in between,
becoming stimulus-memory-response (SMR). After the stimulus is engaged, one’s Memorage
utilizes memory to recall the outcome of the most applicable SMR experience and then produces
the most efficient response. The outcome of an SMR experience is what causes the Memorage to
be influenced or purged, due to continuous learning of whether or not that choice was the most
beneficial or if modifications need to be made for the future. This process explains how Piaget’s
mental schemas became adapted through assimilation or accommodation.
Bandura (1977) recognized that behavior cannot be simply a stimulus response
experience because then there would be no actual learning involved for “the learner”. The full
sequence must be stimulating event-reference to prior outcome in order to elicit appropriate
response-response-outcome-retention-stimulation(etc.) Referring to the prior outcome was not
only necessary, but crucial for the rodents in Skinner’s Skinner box to change their behavior. Had
this reference not occurred, the rodents would have reacted the same, innate way, every time the
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light turned on. Under the same context, from a behavioral point of view, Skinner or any other
research is not controlling the new responses of the rats, he is controlling the old ones, and as the
new responses reflect what is known about old responses, the rats inevitably obey. To put this in
perspective, in a test of five, with the rat being entirely autonomous on the first trial and
completely controlled on the last one, whether the last trial is done or not, the rat is still under his
control for it.
Recalling the outcome of prior experiences allows the learner to produce the most
adequate of possible responses. This self-citation is makes apparent the relativity of memory
because it is what the individual has personally come to believe as the outcome of the situation.
No matter what has been learned, no matter how reinforced, knowledge will never be certain,
and is always relative to the learner, therefore what is between stimulus and response, and is
called upon for reference, is the learner’s relatively most efficient response.
7. Emotion in Relation to Memorage Development
Establishing the reasoning behind human decisions as a response from memory gives
way to the conflict of emotion. Because human emotion holds a complexity parallel to the mind
it is in, its etiology must also lie within its formation (Hinton, 1999). Alexander Hinton states
that emotion appears to be an unavoidable direct extension of the mind itself.
The Memorage explains why animals, such as a dog, can develop what may appear to be
emotions. A dog’s behavior at the absence of an owner as well as the providence of food
resembles human disdain and happiness. A dog’s mentality forming under the same
circumstances, but more primitively, as humans gives reasoning for why they most likely contain
a simpler form of emotion (Panksepp, 1982). Animal emotion can be identified as simple
because they do not experience human traits such as cognitive dissonance, greed, and lust, but
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still react with expressions such as optimism from food, and pessimism from lack of an attached
owner (Rygula, Pluta, and Popik, 2012). A dog, like an infant, will most often react with
emotions of happiness towards food and the original care giver, fear towards frightening
situations, and confusion towards unknown situations, but neither the dog, nor the infant, until an
older age, will experience more complex emotions such as the prior mentioned (Silvers; McRae;
and others, 2012). The emotions of a dog are similar to that of an infant because of the same
reasoning; lack of cognitive development. The number of variables factoring into, as well as the
retention capacity, might explain why adult humans contain such an abundance of emotions in
comparison to animals or infants.
Edward Thorndike’s Law of Effect states that, “behavioral responses that were most
closely followed by a satisfying result were most likely to become established patterns and to
occur again in response to the same stimulus.” This concept, though highly developed upon, is
the basis of the behavioristic view on learning. One may try to disregard, avoid, or ignore that
which one does not want to be influenced by, whether it be a person place or thing, but memory
cannot be consciously controlled only organized. The experiences any individual has will leave
remnants within his mental storage that will influence, to some degree, every decision he will go
on to make, whether consciously or otherwise. Establishing this about the Memorage allows for
room to attribute the psychoanalytic unconscious.
A child’s formation of a mental index or schema for how to respond to situations based
on memory is deemed as a relative Memorage because it relies on what the child personally
believes to have happened from what is stored in memory and will never be certain. These
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schemas will then become further impacted throughout the experiences of life, to allow
development, knowledge, and the formation of cognition, as a memory.
The extent of the necessity of Pavlov’s Temporal Contiguity depends entirely on the
organism, and its cognitive development (Boakes; Costa, 2014). An animal with a feeble formed
mind is easier to be conditioned because of its lacking memory of factors not pertaining to the
current situation. That is the basic reason for why humans are considered to be the most
intelligent creatures. Cognition was evolutionarily formed, as Mark Mattson wrote, to associate
more efficiently, becoming so complex to the point of the eradication of innate responses within
humans to allow for “thought.” The Memorage must therefore hold as much sovereignty as
cognition itself to be denoted as such. Cognition can be explained evolutionarily for its necessity
in choice making. Those who were more well aware of their environment in order to make a
lifesaving or thriving choice will have lived longer as opposed to those whose minds were
convoluted, or inefficient (Blute, 2003). Human mentality has formed to most optimally hold and
discard with information allowing for the most beneficial choices necessary to occur in between
a stimulus and a response.
Cognition, as a highly relied upon memory of experiences, holds negative contingencies
or ‘mental illusions’ well outlined in the 2010 book The Invisible Gorilla, written by Christopher
Chabris and Daniel Simons. A few of the many addressed cognitive phenomena occurring from
belief of experiences are the “Illusion of Memory”; the confidence that one remembers the past
far better than he actually does, and the “Illusion of knowledge”; the belief that one knows much
more about certain topics than he actually does, also leading to the Dunnin-Kruger Effect
(Kruger, Dunning, 1999).
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The need to understand what has come to be known is exactly why the Memorage
develops in the first place. The necessity of enhancing knowledge is to produce more beneficial
responses.. In between stimulus and response, what has been denoted as cognition should more
accurately be seen as a Memorage that utilizes knowledge from the outcome of prior responses
to develop the most optimal acumen.
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