Memory makes us. If we couldn't recall the who, what, where, and when of our everyday lives, we would never be able to manage. We mull over ideas in the present with our short-term (or working) memory, while we store past events and learned meanings in our long-term (episodic or semantic) memory.

What's more, memory is malleable–and it tends to decay with age. So stay sharp by reading our articles on the science of recollection.

Recent Posts on Memory

Save Me From the Fact-Checkers

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on November 24, 2015 Mental Mishaps
Politicians lie. They also exaggerate and misremember. Each creates an autobiographical past that makes a great story but which probably isn’t completely true. But we are just like the lying politicians except for one critical difference.

Are You Being Lied to?

No matter the technique, most people can’t spot liars on a consistent basis. One potential solution to the problem is to remove “people” from the equation. Just let a computer do it.

Looking to Our Past: Escapism or Exploration?

The past is gone, cannot be changed, and cannot return. Is revisiting it in memory a reluctance to live in the present?

Altered Minds

By Hara Estroff Marano on November 20, 2015 Nation of Wimps
In a new film, Altered Minds, director Michael Z Wechsler bases the psychological suspense on covert mind-control experiments.

Do Bilingual Infants Have Better Memory?

As researchers continue to debate cognitive advantages of bilingualism, they develop increasingly more sophisticated methods to examine our earliest experiences. A recent study of infant memory suggests that bilingual babies display better memory and ability to generalize across different contexts than monolingual ones. But what about trilingual babies?

Consciousness and Memory

The role of memory in consciousness is often taken for granted. Without the brain's various memory systems it would be unlikely that conscious experience would even occur. Consciousness not only relies on working memory to maintain perceptual and other information but also on long-term memory to enrich our present experience with information from the past.

There’s No Reason to Celebrate Trauma

By Marty Babits on November 16, 2015 The Middle Ground
There have been breakthroughs in how we understand and treat trauma.

The Art (and Science) of “Aping”

Human beings are smart. But, according to Joseph Henrich, the impact of the innate intelligence of individuals may be over-rated. Quite often, for example, European explorers who got lost did not survive. The takeaway, Henrich suggests, in an immensely ambitious new book, is that our species' uniqueness lies less in the power of individual minds than in collective brains.

Italian Memories: Creating “A Time” for Grandma

We are gathering memories into a pictorial family history. When couples create memories together it generates new bonds between them.

Why Nature is Good for Our Brains

When was the last time you enjoyed some time outside? Three reasons nature is good for your brain.

Pregnancy Brain: The Expectant Mom's Guide

By Jordan Gaines Lewis on November 10, 2015 Brain Babble
Does “pregnancy brain” actually exist? There’s no doubt that many changes are happening to a woman’s body during pregnancy, but how do these changes affect (or originate in) the brain?

Trauma Informed Assessments, Part 5

We all understand the value of getting a trauma history. Understand how to open that door to the past with greater respect, care, and commitment to preserve the client’s right to privacy and emotional stability.

Ben Carson and the Mandela Effect

By David Ludden Ph.D. on November 09, 2015 Talking Apes
It’s not just that our memories are unreliable. Our intuitions about how memory works are inaccurate as well.

Understanding a Mysterious Disease

In commemoration of National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, 5 important things to learn about this mysterious illness...

Training the Brain to Discipline Itself

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on November 05, 2015 Memory Medic
Emotional working memory training improves the ability to suppress disturbing emotional responses.

Does Mindfulness Meditation Affect Memory?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on November 03, 2015 Ulterior Motives
A key aspect of memory is your ability to distinguish things that actually happened to you from things you were just thinking about. When you witness an accident, your ability to recall it properly requires that you remember whether facts you believe about that event came from what you actually saw and heard or whether they reflect other factors.

Why Does Music Get Stuck in My Head?

By Victoria Williamson on November 02, 2015 You Are the Music
Why does music repeat in my mind and can I stop it when it is annoying? The history of earworms goes back to at least 1876 in common knowledge but new research is revealing how we might combat our unwanted earworms and harness the sticky tunes that could help us learn.

The Male and Female Brain Are More Similar Than Once Assumed

Neuoroscientists currently believe that the male and female brain are much more similar than once assumed. A new meta-analysis of 76 published papers, involving over 6,000 healthy individuals, has debunked the widely-held assumption that brain size varies by gender.

One Simple Way You Can Become a Human Lie Detector

Researchers have identified that observing whether or not someone is "thinking too hard" is the single most reliable cue for detecting a liar.

How Big Is Your Hippocampus? Does It Matter? Yes and No.

Fifteen years ago, neuroscientists identified that London cab drivers had a bigger hippocampus, which was linked to their ability to navigate 25,000 complex city streets from memory. However, that's only half the story. A groundbreaking new study has identified that hippocampus size isn't all that matters for learning spatial navigation and memory.

Physical Activity Is the No. 1 Way to Keep Your Brain Young

A growing body of evidence suggests that regular physical activity is the most effective way to optimize the structure and function of your brain throughout your lifespan.

People Who Don't Dream Might Not Recall Their Dreams

By Patrick McNamara Ph.D. on October 25, 2015 Dream Catcher
Although some people swear that they have never dreamed new data suggests that they may be mistaken.

PTSD: How this Drug and Talk Therapy Can Help

A well-known medication plus systematic talk therapy has reduced symptoms of PTSD. This can potentially reduce disturbing memories after they have been reactivated in a controlled therapeutic manner. Other drugs might help as well.

Is Perspective-Taking a Skill?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on October 22, 2015 Ulterior Motives
When we study psychology, there is a tendency to think about the tasks that we do as if there were built-in modules in the brain dedicated to those tasks. So, we talk about memory and assume that there is a particular thing in the brain that helps us remember information.

Baseball is Magic (When You're Seven Years Old)

By Steven Schlozman M.D. on October 18, 2015 Grand Rounds
Why Baseball is Magic in the Low Light of October

Do Brain Training Games Actually Improve Cognitive Function?

Neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists from around the world recently wrote a "consensus letter" condemning the brain-game industry for making false claims. However, not all video games are created equal. Some video games may actually have cognitive benefits.

Remembering Our Selves

Our memories can be changed by our beliefs and by our social environment, but our memories can also be remarkably accurate – depending on the strategies we use to remember.

The Sky Behind Me

A worthwhile read for anyone who wants to sense the ghost in the machine.

Does Your Personal Brand Broadcast Success?

The actions you take each day build your personal brand. The way you think, the way you feel and the way you behave shape the stories people tell about who you are and what they can expect from you when it comes to your work.

Why Do We Remember Certain Things, But Forget Others?

Much of learning takes place in the form of emotional learning.