In Chap. 6 of his book LOT 2, Jerry Fodor runs an argument for the existence of nonconceptual content based on Sperling’s experiments from the 1960s. Sperling (followed by Fodor) explained his results by postulating the “echoic buffer” or “echoic store”, which is a perceptual system that maintains an image of what is perceived for a very brief period of time. In classical cognitive psychological theories such as Sperling’s, the echoic buffer is distinct from both short term memory and long term memory.
I haven’t heard any serious reference to the echoic buffer in recent years, nor anyone who uses this kind of term in recent research. I used to assume that people had abandoned that old-fashioned notion, to replace it and all other perceptual systems (as they used to be conceptualized by classical cognitive psychology) with the different sensory areas of the cortex and the different stages of perceptual processing that occur in the different sensory areas.
Now this Fodorian reference makes me wonder: did I miss something? Does anyone know what happened to the echoic buffer, and theories thereof, since the 1960s?