child care

January 8, 2007 6:24am CST
hen you learn something it makes a difference. There is something you can do that you could not do before, like play the piano, or there is something that you now know that you did not know before, like what 'empirical' means. When something stays in the mind, we assume it is stored somewhere, and we call this storage system 'memory'. The system does not work perfectly: we sometimes have to 'rack our brains' or 'search our memories', but perhaps the most common preconception about what stays in the mind is that there is a place where it is all stored. Sometimes one cannot find what one wants, but it is probably there somewhere if only one knew where to look. But psychologists' discoveries about learning and memory demonstrate that what is stored in the mind cannot be adequately understood by using the analogy of the repository. About memory, William James asked in 1890: 'why should this absolute god-given Faculty retain so much better the events of yesterday than those of last year, and, best of all, those of an hour ago? Why, again, in old age should its grasp of childhood's events seem firmest? Why should repeating an experience strengthen our recollection of it? Why should drugs, fevers, asphyxia, and excitement resuscitate things long since forgotten? . . . such peculiarities seem quite fantastic; and might, for augh we can see a priori, be the precise opposites of what they are. Evidently, then, the faculty does not exist absolutely, but works under conditions;
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