Generalization of an Elementary Perceiving and Memorizing Machine

by Edward A. Feigenbaum, Herbert Alexander Simon

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The Elementary Perceiver and Memorizer (EPAM) is a computer model of human associative memory and the processes of verbal learning. Analysis of the failures of one earlier version of the model (EPAM II) to simulate certain features of human verbal learning behavior led the authors to formulate a more general model of verbal learning processes (EPAM III), which is discussed in this paper. In this model, EPAM information processes and structures have been generalized to deal with stimulus objects of arbitrary complexity. Discrimination processes discriminate objects on the basis of properties of the objects themselves or on the basis of properties of constituent subobjects. The learning processes of EPAM III provide an associative mechanism by means of which earlier learning can be brought to bear in a useful way on later learning. Exploration of the EPAM III model is concerned with simulating the behavior observed in psychological experiments on meaningfulness in verbal learning.

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