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the history of mnemic psychology

*Hemidactylus* hemidactylus at my-deja.com
Wed Aug 18 21:25:54 EST 1999

Is anyone familiar with Richard Semon's coining of the terms "mneme" and
"engram"? So far I realize the concept of mnemism possibly influenced both
Eugen Bleuler and Carl Jung (archetypes and the collective unconscious), but
I'm now trying to figure out the extent of Semon's influence. Eg- If LTP
research could roughly be considered a search for the engram, wouldn't Semon
have a certain degree of antecedency, however minor? I already realize that
Donald Hebb's synaptic efficiency postulate has a more direct relation to
some of the LTP phenomena (particularly IIRC phenomena related to the
magnesium block of the NMDA receptor). I also recall Karl Lashley as being
attributed with the engram idea before. I'm trying to draw a trace on the
historical (and molecular) details behind the memory trace :-)

I'm just starting to read Daniel Schacter's _Stranger Behind the Engram_
(1982. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. Hillsdale, New Jersey). I get
the impression that Ernst Haeckel also fits into the picture here somewhere.
Haeckel's infamous idea of the biogenetic law is discussed by Stephen Gould
in _Ontogeny and Phylogeny_ (1977. The Belnap Press of Harvard University
Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts).

I find this conceptual fossil of mnemism rather intriguing. I hope everybody
doesn't mind breaking away from discussion of new breakthroughs and such to
discuss some rather obscure history.

Scott Chase

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