“AMERICANS BORN IN the United States are more murderous than undocumented immigrants. Fighting words, I know. But why? After all, that’s just what the numbers say.
“Still, be honest: you wouldn’t linger over a story with that headline. It’s “dog bites man.” It’s the norm. And norms aren’t news. Instead, you’ll see two dozen reporters flock to a single burning trash can during an Inauguration protest. The aberrant occurrence is the story you’ll read and the picture you’ll see. It’s news because it’s new.
“The neuroscientist Sheena Josselyn can evoke and erase memories in mice using new tools that precisely control the brain.”
“The power to control memory is both exciting and frightening. It evokes the dark images of science fiction movies such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in which a couple erases painful memories of each other. But the research also has the potential to unlock the mystery of memory disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), perhaps leading to new treatments.”
“Confabulators don’t mean to lie or mislead, but some fundamental problems with the way they process memories mean they often struggle to tell fact from a fiction concocted by their unconscious mind.
“His dilemma, although extreme, can help us all to understand the frailties of our memories, and the ways our minds construct their own versions of reality.”
“But forgetting isn’t just a loss that comes with age. It’s a normal part of the memory process. We don’t need to remember a lot of what happens to us – what we made for dinner two years ago, where we left the car the last five times we parked in this lot. Those are examples of things that aren’t useful to remember anymore.
“There’s also the question of memories that are actively hindering our lives. Research suggests, and my work with memory-related conditions corroborates, that some people have an inability to forget traumatic events. This characteristic is partially responsible for conditions including depression and PTSD.”
“Some of your most cherished memories may not be as reliable as you think they are. So an artist who has spent the past three years collating 2,000 examples of false memories tells Kate Hilpern”
“As it turns out, however, the accuracy of many eidetic images is far from perfect. In fact, besides often being sketchy on some details, it is not unusual for eidetikers to alter visual details and even to invent some that were never in the original. This suggests that eidetic images are certainly not photographic in nature but instead are reconstructed from memory and can be influenced like other memories (both visual and nonvisual) by cognitive biases and expectations.”
“This hour of Radiolab, a look behind the curtain of how memories are made…and forgotten. Remembering is an unstable and profoundly unreliable process–it’s easy come, easy go as we learn how true memories can be obliterated, and false ones added. And Oliver Sacks joins us to tell the story of an amnesiac whose love for his wife and music transcend his 7-second memory.”