Wednesday, February 1, 2012

CfP: Distributed cognition and memory research: How do distributed memory systems work?

I wish I had time to write for this ...

Special issue of the Review of Philosophy and Psychology

Guest editors: Kourken Michaelian and John Sutton

Call for Papers

Deadline for submissions: July 15, 2012

According to the extended mind hypothesis in philosophy of cognitive
science and the related distributed cognition hypothesis in cognitive
anthropology, remembering does not always occur entirely inside the
brain, but can also be distributed across heterogeneous systems
combining neural, bodily, social, and technological resources. Much of
the critical debate on these ideas in philosophy has so far remained
at some distance from relevant empirical studies. But claims about
extended mind and distributed cognition, if they are to deserve wider
acceptance, must both make sense of and, in turn, inform work in the
cognitive and social sciences. Is the notion of extended or
distributed remembering consistent with the findings of empirical
memory research? Can such a view of memory usefully inform empirical
work, suggesting further areas of productive enquiry or helping to
make sense of existing findings?

This special issue will bring together supporters and critics of
extended and distributed cognition, to consider memory as a test case
for evaluating and further developing these hypotheses. Submitted
papers should thus address both memory and distributed cognition/
extended mind: ideally, papers should aim simultaneously to make
contributions to relevant debates in both philosophy and psychology or
other relevant empirical fields. While primarily theoretical papers
are welcome, they should make direct contact with empirical findings.
Similarly, while empirically-oriented papers might draw on evidence
from a range of areas, including the cognitive psychology of
transactive memory and collaborative recall, cognitive anthropology
and cognitive ethnography, science studies and the philosophy of
science, the history of memory practices, and the cognitive
archaeology of material culture, they should seek to advance the
theoretical debate over extended mind and distributed cognition,
rather than simply presenting findings from these fields.

Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

Relations between biological memory and external memory
How do forms of representation and storage in neural and external
memory differ, and why do such differences matter? Can theories of
distributed cognition deal with the existence of multiple memory
systems? For example, does the expert deployment of exograms in
certain external symbol systems affect working memory? How might the
development and operation of distributed memory systems affect neural
memory processes? Is evidence for neuroplasticity relevant for
assessing claims about distributed remembering? Given plausible links
between memory and self, what might distributed memory systems imply
about identity and agency? What happens when distributed memory
systems fail or break down?

How do distributed memory systems work?

What is socially distributed remembering, and does it offer any
support to revived ideas about group cognition, or to a naturalized
understanding of collective memory? Can theories of extended or
distributed cognition encompass socially distributed remembering in
addition to artifacts and other forms of memory scaffolding? What are
the implications of experimental studies of collaborative recall and
transactive memory for theories of distributed cognition? How do such
theories deal with memory practices and rituals, and with the roles of
the non-symbolic material environment?

Distributed memory and embodied cognition
How central in theories of extended or distributed memory should be
the study of skill acquisition and of expertise in the deployment of
external resources? What accounts of embodied skills, procedural
memory, and smooth or absorbed coping are required to support such
theories? How do distributed memory systems work in specific contexts
of embodied interaction, from conversation to music, dance,
performance, and sport?

Guest authors
The issue will include invited articles authored by:

Robert Rupert, University of Colorado (Boulder)
Deborah Tollefsen, University of Memphis, and Rick Dale, University of California  (Merced)
Mike Wheeler, University of Stirling

Important dates
Submission deadline: July 15, 2012
Target publication date: December 15, 2012

How to submit
Prospective authors should register at:
to obtain a login and select Distributed cognition and memory research
as an article type. Manuscripts should be approximately 6,000 words.
Submissions should follow the author guidelines available on the
journal's website.

About the journal
The Review of Philosophy and Psychology (ISSN: 1878-5158; eISSN:
1878-5166) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by Springer
and focusing on philosophical and foundational issues in cognitive
science. The aim of the journal is to provide a forum for discussion
on topics of mutual interest to philosophers and psychologists and to
foster interdisciplinary research at the crossroads of philosophy and
the sciences of the mind, including the neural, behavioural and social
sciences. The journal publishes theoretical works grounded in
empirical research as well as empirical articles on issues of
philosophical relevance. It includes thematic issues featuring invited
contributions from leading authors together with articles answering a
call for paper.

For any queries, please email the guest editors:,

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