# Fuzzy Memory Theory and its Use in Cognitive Science

- Chris Thornton,
*University of Sussex*

## Abstract

Fuzzy memory theory extends fuzzy set theory to the case of
imperfectly performing memory devices. In fuzzy set theory, the key
concept is that of graded set membership. The degree to which an item
belongs to a set is specified by a continuous function. Fuzzy memory
theory is organized around the analogous concept of *graded recall*.
Items stored in a fuzzy memory are associated with cues, such that
each item is recalled by provision of the corresponding cue. But
unlike conventional memory (where cues are typically addresses) the
recall process may vary in its degree of error. The item produced may
embody missing information. The capacity of a fuzzy memory is then
measured in terms of the net information content of recalled items.
The theory has potential applications for new forms of technology,
but also for the study of cognition. In particular, it can be the
means of formalizing the properties of error-prone natural memory
mechanisms. It can also supply a non-circular explanation for
similarity-based category formation.

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