Remember that time I wrote that thing about that stuff
Tue 05 Aug 2014 09:32 AM
When my first paper about distributed cognition was under review, one of the referees objected to my account on the grounds that it would count transactive memory as d-cog. Transactive memory is the phenomenon, familiar to couples and longtime friends, in which partners can cue each other to remember something which neither could remember on their own. I hadn't heard of it before, went and did some research, scratched my head as to how this was supposed to be an objection rather than just a natural consequence of my view, and added transactive memory as a further example of d-cog in my paper.
via a friend's link on Facebook and io9, I just stumbled across some recent work on transactive memory by Harris et al. They readily identify it as a kind of distributed cognition; not because of me, I'm sure, but still vindicating me. Their work suggests that (a) different content tends to be preserved in transactive memory than in individual memory and (b) the task of transactive memory is not straightforwardly to remember better than individual memory, but to maintain memories more reliably as resources fail.
Remembering together, a British Psychological Society Research Digest summary of Harris et al.
Couples as socially distributed cognitive systems (2014) Celia B Harris, Amanda J Barnier, John Sutton, Paul G Keil. Memory Studies. Behind a paywall.