Memory Essential Reads

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Creativity Is Memory

By Art Markman Ph.D. on October 06, 2015 Ulterior Motives
Do you remember the shock you had (perhaps as a teenager) when you realized that all of the characters in your dreams are part of your own memories? Even though, the things they say seem to come from someone else, they have to reflect information from your own memory and experiences.

Social Media and Healing of Memories

By Thelma Duffey Ph.D. on September 09, 2015 Works in Progress
When an unexpected name comes back from the past, it can throw us for a loop.

Prions, Memory and PTSD

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been described as a disorder of memory. It has become quite apparent that there are two types of memory in PTSD. The work of Eric R. Kandel forms the basis for much of what we understand about how memories are formed.

Memories of Trauma

By David Myers Ph.D. on August 26, 2015 Talk Psych
Imagine yourself as a traumatized passenger on a transatlantic flight that has run out of fuel and is seemingly destined to crash in the ocean. Such was the real life experience of psychologist Margaret MacKinnon, who, with colleagues, later compared passengers' memories with actual flight events. Their findings teach us a lesson about human memory.

Why Are Optimists Smiling? Are They Blind to Reality?

Understanding a Person's Outlook on Life Through Early Recollections

Objects and Memories...and the Pain of Letting Go

By Barry Yourgrau on August 24, 2015 Mess
The Pain of Letting Go

Exploring the Good Kind of Disobedience

Intelligent Disobedience. I recommend this book to all of us interested in the implications of the Hoffman Report, and to everyone not in psychology but interested in human courage in the face of collective evil.

What's Wrong with Antianxiety Drugs?

Recognition of the multiplicity of the brain systems that contribute to fear and anxiety disorders is the first step towards the development of better treatments.

The Amygdala Is NOT the Brain's Fear Center

The amygdala is not a "fear" center out of which effuses the feeling of being afraid. "Fear" is a cognitively assembled conscious experience that is based on threat detection, arousal, attention, perception, memory, and other neural processes.

Welcome to "I Got a Mind to Tell You"

Want the facts about mind, brain, mental and mental disorders. Follow "I Got a Mind to Tell You."

The Curious Connection Between Distraction and Impulsivity

By David DiSalvo on August 01, 2015 Neuronarrative
Science is steadily uncovering a link between handicapped working memory resources and handicapped impulse control, with all its unfortunate shortcomings.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Vacation

Vacation time is precious, and most people don’t get nearly enough of it. So how can you make the most of the time you do have? Research suggests that these eight strategies may help.

Liar, Liar, Working Memory on Fire

Working Memory can make you a better liar, research shows

Sherlock Holmes: The Case of Memory and Aging

Sherlock Holmes is the quintessential detective, but what happens to his memory and his mind in old age? The new movie Mr. Holmes, as well as current research on cognitive aging, allow for an important case study on memory and aging.

What We Really Needed From Our Parents

When we reflect on our childhood we tend to recall the tough times -- times when we as kids screwed up, or when our parents failed. It turns out that the dance between love and hate, doing right and doing wrong, and above all making amends is critical for secure attachments. We learn to trust other, indeed, we learn to be moral as part of a normal developmental process.

Why High School Stays with You Forever (Like It or Not)

For some of us, high school shines like an enchanted kingdom; for others, it is remembered as an endless Hell of daily torments. For most of us, it is something in between, but memorable nonetheless. Is it the collision between evolved psychological mechanisms and the nature of the modern high school that is to blame?

How and Why Color Matters in Early Recollections

The experience of color in early recollections occurs only with a minority of persons. The meaning of color to these individuals is often life-orienting and personally enriching. The "color-minded" remind all people of the vitality and wonder of color as a human endowment.

New Research Tools to Test Brain Injury

By Eric Newhouse on July 01, 2015 Invisible Wounds
Scientists at UCLA have been studying the brains of retired football players to determine what types of brain damage are caused by repeated concussions, and new technologies are allowing them to examine living brains. The next step will involve combat vets to see how they differ from NFL players and from Alzheimer's victims.

Digital Dementia

Action video games improve low level attention and visuospatial memory, but is there a link between gaming and a more global loss of memory reminiscent of dementia?

4 Observations on Memory and Emotion

Watching Pixar's Inside-Out, I was moved through a full range of emotions, but also, as a neuroscientist, I was impressed with the nuanced depiction of complex brain functions that the movie depicted. Understanding these can help you better understand yourself:

3 Reasons Not to Spend Your Money on Things

The other weekend I went to the mall in search of new running shoes. When I arrived, the parking lot was so full that I had to circle around before I found a spot. The stores were equally crowded inside. Apparently none of these shoppers had read Leaf Van Boven's 2005 review article highlighting the benefits of spending money on experiences over material goods.

Sober Summer!

For those trying to cut back on their drinking or for sober alcoholics, the summertime and the many celebrations that accompany it can be temptations.Many will report that the warm weather, the outdoor bars, family gatherings, vacations, the beach, sporting events, etc. can bring back memories of “the good ole’ days”. Here are some tips for sober summertime fun!

Can Evolution Explain All Human Behavior?

Evolutionary explanations of human behavior abound and they call on what we know about evolution. However, proving the validity of these explanations is another story. Why is that?