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If someone asks you if you can remember something, say no. All of our memories are a mix of reality and rational interpretation, with details that change every time you remember that memory. But take heart, because even though our brains are highly constantly reworking those memories, they are also constantly learning. Plus, you get to live in a reality you can write.

Recommended as a pop culture memory nonfiction for anyone who prides themselves on their memory! This book draws together many different lines of memory research, including studies of false memories, cognitive biases, flashbulb memories. Shaw is not only a memory researcher herself, but also a criminal psychologist. The book does lead us to question our own histories and raises some fascinating questions about our constructions of reality.

I listened to the audiobook and the narrator, Siri Steinmo, was just wonderful. I usually prefer books read by the author for they are much more likely to sound like someone talking to me than someone reading to me. But this one is an exception. A fascinating read or listen! I could tell that the Julia Shaw made an effort to avoid too many medical jargon.

Trying her best to make sure that the content of the book wasn't too dry, at times having intriguing anecdotes. It's just a small gripe. Apr 10, Adam Osth rated it liked it. I'm biased because I study memory for a living. With that being said, I was surprised at how much I learned while reading this book, especially during the neuroscience chapter, which talked about some really interesting recent developments in optogenetics.

On the other hand, the book didn't seem to have much of a coherent thesis. It talked about various ways that people have false memories but didn't really talk about theories that actually explain these phenomena.

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Speaking as a cogni I'm biased because I study memory for a living. Speaking as a cognitive scientist, many of these phenomena are readily explained by current models of memory and understanding the theoretical basis can make these phenomena much less mysterious. Jun 13, Bernie Gourley rated it really liked it Recommends it for: those interested in false memories and the implanting thereof.

This disparity has played a major role in many a miscarriage of justice with eye-witnesses historically being considered the gold standard of evidence in criminal trials. This sets up the whole subject nicely because one must ask how so many people can claim to remember events that are physiologically impossible for them to have remembered, and to frequently be right about most key details.

No one is suggesting that such people are liars not all — or even most -- of them, anyway. Imagine a school-age child hearing a story about his or her life as a baby. Herein lies the crux of false memory: 1.

The Memory Illusion

Chapter two explores perception, and how flawed perceptions may become flawed or tarnished memories. Therefore, the limitations and inaccuracies of the mental model are the first line of deviation of memory from reality. Chapter four begins a series of chapters that take on specific objections that will arise to the ideas about false memory presented in the early chapters. This chapter counters an anticipated objection about people who seem to have perfect memories. Surely, these rare cases disprove the general idea of how memory works.

Shaw shows that none of these people have perfect memory. Some have spectacular autobiographical memory memory for their own life events and others are exceedingly skilled at using mnemonic devices to remember any facts, but they all have limits. We forget for good reason. Chapter five examines another common memory fallacy, which is that one can remember best by getting the middleman of the consciousness mind out of the way and feeding data directly into the subconscious.

In other words, it takes on subliminal learning. Like every program that promises growth without effort, this one is debunked.

False memories and fantastic beliefs: 15 years of the DRM illusion

I will say, the book fell off the rails for me a bit during this chapter. As I wrote in a recent blog post about psychological concepts that even psychologists repeatedly get wrong, Shaw denies the existence of hypnotic trance state as an altered state of consciousness. She writes in an odd, round-about fashion on this subject as well as the topic of brainwashing — for which she offers her own value-laden definition.

I can only imagine the hoops she had to go through to get her research design through an IRB. After a series of famous -- and ethically questionable -- studies by the likes of Stanley Milgrim, Ewen Cameron, and Timothy Leary, to name a few, psychology has come under great scrutiny. Chapter six asks why we believe our memories are so awesome despite all evidence to the contrary. This comes down to why most of us unjustifiably judge ourselves superior in most regards. As is true of drivers, almost every person thinks she is better than average in the realm of memory.

Chapter eight discusses how media and social media mold memories.

Illusions of Memory | Skeptical Inquirer

One element of this is group-think. This chapter also takes on how social media influences memory as a distraction and because of so-called digital amnesia in which people remember less because they figure they can look it up at any time in the vastness of the internet.

The Illusion of Memory - Alan Watts

The chapter focuses on a series of Satanic ritual sexual abuse cases, a number of which were eventually disproved. So eager to build a case to bring believed wrong-doers to justice, law enforcement officers sometimes inadvertently pressured children into making up stories under the guise of trying to get them to open up, stories that sometimes became false memories.

This is valuable information and not just for legal purposes but for life in general. The book has a few graphics as necessary throughout the book and has end-notes to provide sources and elaboration on comments in the text. I found this book to be immensely valuable as food-for-thought. The author presents many fascinating stories and the results of intriguing research studies, all in a readable package. Interesting and fascinating, very informative and opinion changing. However, for me, one point was being discarded too much, and that is how childhood memories which we might not remember actively neither be able to recover, I agree on that point could still influence our adult life cue: attachment theory.

Apart from that, I enjoyed that the writer clearly expressed her opinion based on her research, while still also explaining theories that exist but to which she does not adhere. Refre Interesting and fascinating, very informative and opinion changing. Refreshing openness. I certainly understand now even more than before, that memories can lead astray, that false memories are possible and can even be created on purpose.

I have also understood to cherish the way my brain is working, with its faults and traps, while being aware not to trust it too much, especially when I feel absolutely sure about something. To bring you to an acceptance that all of us have critically flawed memories is the very reason I wrote this book. Jan 05, Simone Beg rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction. I kind of expected the reviews for this to be a mixed bag with a topic that is so emotional to many people. After all most people strongly believe their memories to be facts and that their memories are what makes up a large chunk of their personalities.

To put the accuracy of memories in general into question is bound to stir up some heated emotions. Personally I fall somewhere in the middle.

Could the author convince me in every single aspect of her reasoning? But do I feel I l I kind of expected the reviews for this to be a mixed bag with a topic that is so emotional to many people. But do I feel I learned a lot of things and gained quite some insight into recent research that I didn't have before? People need to remember that this is not the end of all discussion about memory research. It is an argument put forward with often very strong supportive scientific findings, but you can be sure as research progresses you will see dozens of equally well supported counter arguments or otherwise differing views.

Again, can a layman learn a lot from this book, yes. Do you have to take it as written in stone facts that have no chance of getting reconsidered when presented with new evidence, no. So for what it is, I'm giving it 5 stars.