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The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembersby Daniel Schacter
"[M]ost erudite....[Schacter] considers the seven ways in which human memory can be said to be faulty. As well as ordinary forgetting, Schacter lists the "sins" of absent-mindedness (when we forget to do the things we meant to do); blocking (when we can't quickly retrieve information); persistence (when we cannot shake a traumatic event or just a nagging tune from our minds); and then misattribution; suggestibility; and bias." John McCrone, The Times Literary Supplement (read the entire Times Literary Supplement review)
Synopses & Reviews
Daniel L. Schacter, chairman of Harvard University's Psychology Department and a leading expert on memory, has developed the rst framework that describes the basic memory miscues we all encounter. Just like the seven deadly sins, the seven memory sins appear routinely in everyday life. Although we may hate these difculties, as Schacter notes, they're surprisingly vital to a keen mind.
Schacter, whose previous trade book, Searching For Memory, was called "splendidly lucid" (The New Yorker), offers vivid examples of the memory sins — for example, the absent-mindedness that plagued both a national memory champion and a violinist who forgot that he had placed a priceless Stradivarius on top of his car before driving off. The author also delves into the recent research — such as imaging that shows memories being formed in the brain — that has led him to develop his framework. Together, the stories and the scientific findings examined in The Seven Sins of Memory provide a fascinating new look at our brains, and at what we more generally think of as our minds.
The Seven Sins of Memory is a groundbreaking work that will provide great reassurance to everyone, from twenty-somethings who find their lives are too busy, to baby boomers who mutter about "early Alzheimer's, " to senior citizens who worry about how much (or how little) they can recall.
"Drawing upon recent neuroimaging research that allows a glimpse of the brain as it learns and remembers, Schacter guides his readers on a fascinating journey of the human mind." Library Journal
"Anyone who has recently forgotten a fact or name may find much of interest in this well-documented, informative book." Publishers Weekly
"Compelling in its science and its probing examination of everyday life...a delightful book, lively and clear." Chicago Tribune
"A lively and well-written survey." Kirkus Reviews
A groundbreaking work by one of the world's foremost memory experts, THE SEVEN SINS OF MEMORY offers the first framework that explains common memory vices — and their surprising virtues. In this intriguing study, Daniel L. Schacter explores the memory miscues that occur in everyday life: absent-mindedness, transience, blocking, misattribution, suggestibility, bias, and persistence. Schacter illustrates these concepts with vivid examples — case studies, literary excerpts, experimental evidence, and accounts of highly visible news events such as the O.J. Simpson verdict, Bill Clinton's grand jury testimony, and the search for the Oklahoma City bomber. He also delves into striking new scientific research, giving us a glimpse of the fascinating neurology of memory. Together, the stories and the scientific results provide a new look at our brains and at what we more generally think of as our minds.
Winner of the William James Book Award
A groundbreaking work by one of the world's foremost psychologists that delves into the complex behavior of memory.
In this fascinating study, Daniel L. Schacter explores instances of what we would consider memory failure—absent-mindedness, transience, blocking, misattribution, suggestibility, bias, and persistence—and suggests instead that these miscues are actually indications that memory is functioning as designed. Drawing from vivid scientific research and creative literature, as well as high-profile events in which memory has figured significantly (Bill Clinton's grand jury testimony, for instance), The Seven Sins of Memory provides a more nuanced understanding of how memory and the mind influence each other and shape our lives.
About the Author
Daniel L. Schacter is chairman of the Psychology Department at Harvard University. He has previously written Searching for Memory, which received praise as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and one of Library Journal's Best Science and Technology Books of the Year. The book won the American Psychological Association's William James Book Award and received outstanding reviews in The New Yorker and Publishers Weekly. Schacter was the keynote speaker at the American Psychological Association's 2000 conference and has appeared on 20/20, NBC's Sunday Today, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, and, with Alan Alda, on PBS's Scientific American Frontiers.
Table of Contents
Contents Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: A Blessing Bestowed by the Gods 1 1.
The Sin of Transience 12 2.
The Sin of Absent-mindedness 41 3.
The Sin of Blocking 61 4.
The Sin of Misattribution 88 5.
The Sin of Suggestibility 112 6.
The Sin of Bias 138 7.
The Sin of Persistence 161 8.
The Seven Sins: Vices or Virtues? 184 Notes 207 Bibliography 230 Index 259
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