The Memory Illusion

The Memory Illusion

Why You Might Not Be Who You Think You Are

Book - 2016
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"Forensic psychologist and memory expert Dr. Julia Shaw reveals why we are all unreliable narrators of our own life stories. Think you have a good memory? Think again. Memories are our most cherished possessions. We rely on them every day of our lives. They make us who we are. And yet the truth is they are far from being the accurate record of the past we like to think they are. True, we can all admit to having suffered occasional memory lapses, such as entering a room and immediately forgetting why, or suddenly being unable to recall the name of someone we've met dozens of times. But what if we have the potential for more profound errors of memory, even verging on outright fabrication and self-deception? In The Memory Illusion, forensic psychologist and memory expert Dr. Julia Shaw uses the latest research to show the astonishing variety of ways in which our brains can indeed be led astray. She shows why we can sometimes misappropriate other people's memories, subsequently believing them to be our own. She explains how police officers can imprison an innocent man for life on the basis of 300 denials and just one confession. She demonstrates the way radically false memories can be deliberately implanted, leading people to believe that they brutally murdered a loved one, or were abducted by aliens. And she reveals how, in spite of all this, we can improve our memory through simple awareness of its fallibility. Fascinating and unnerving in equal measure, The Memory Illusion offers a unique insight into the human brain, challenging you to question how much you can ever truly know about yourself."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780385685290
Branch Call Number: 153.12 SHA
Characteristics: xv, 288 pages :,illustrations


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Jul 24, 2019

The best thing about the book is that is a light read. The worst thing about the book is that it reads like a really long Buzzfeed article. The author has a good academic background in her field, but the book is basically what you would expect from a junior academic. If you're older than 35, you know that memory can be shaky. If you've read any other material on memory, this one doesn't add much.

Sep 26, 2018

An accessible description of the many ways that our memories can be faulty and changed by a Canadian author who is a university teacher, researcher, and consultant in the topic. One chapter, which you are invited to skip, covers the brain processes involved in creating, modifying, retrieving, and pruning (forgetting) memories. After reading this, I'll never convict someone based upon uncollaborated witness or victim testimony, no matter how many witnesses or victims "remember". Old, or "recovered" memories are particularly suspect. Historic bad miscarriages of justice around supposed child abuse, "satanic" rituals, and rape should cause more caution in the current #metoo storm.

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