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Redintegration refers to the restoration of the whole of something from a part of it. In cognitive psychology the word is used in reference to phenomena in the field of memory. The everyday phenomenon is that a small part of a memory can remind a person of the entire memory. In contemporary memory research it is defined as "the use of long-term knowledge to facilitate recall."
The great literary example of redintegration is Marcel Proust's novel Remembrance of Things Past. The conceit is that the entire seven-volume novel consists of the memories triggered by the taste of a madeleine soaked in lime tea. "I had recognized the taste of the crumb of madeleine soaked in her concoction of lime-flowers which my aunt used to give to me. Immediately the old grey house upon the street, where her room was, rose up like the scenery of a theatre to attach itself to the little pavilion, opening on to the garden, which had been built out behind it for my parents", ... for seven volumes. (See List of longest novels.)
Redintegration was one of the memory phenomena that the Associationist school of philosophical psychologists sought to explain and used as evidence supporting their theories.
Contemporary Memory Research
In the study of word recall in working memory, multi-syllable words that may not be heard completely can be recalled in their entirety. It is hypothesized that this is accomplished by a redintegration process which allows the entire word to be reconstructed by using the subject's knowledge of the vocabulary of the language. The process seems to work because of the redundancy of language. The mechanics of redintegration is still not understood and is being actively researched.
- Allen Baddeley (2007). Working Memory, Thought, and Action. Oxford, Oxford University Press, p. 24
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