“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.”
“The real world of our memory is made of bits of true facts, surrounded by holes that we Spackle over with guesses and beliefs and crowd-sourced rumors. On the dot of 10 on Wednesday morning, Anthony O’Grady, 26, stood in front of a Dunkin’ Donuts on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan. He heard a ruckus, some shouts, then saw a police officer chase a man into the street and shoot him down in the middle of the avenue.
“There is no evidence that the mistaken accounts of either person were malicious or intentionally false. Studies of memories of traumatic events consistently show how common it is for errors to creep into confidently recalled accounts, according to cognitive psychologists.”
“Perhaps Fisher offers the nation an opportunity to divorce, once and for all, memory from history. History may be an attempt to memorialize and preserve the past, but it is not memory; memories can serve as primary sources, but they do not stand alone as history. A history is essentially a collection of memories, analyzed and reduced into meaningful conclusions—but that collection depends on the memories chosen.”
“First, Americans prefer narratives in which they play a central heroic role. The Dwight Eisenhower of the First World War was French, Marshal Ferdinand Foch. Those Americans who cared most intensely about the war found themselves enlisting under other people’s banners. John Singer Sargent painted his great war canvases for Britain’s Imperial War Museum. Edith Wharton volunteered for French relief organizations. Raymond Chandler joined the Canadian army. Ernest Hemingway drove Red Cross ambulances on the Italian front. Henry James forswore his U.S. citizenship and naturalized as British. John Dos Passos, another Red Cross volunteer, later savagely satirized the war as ‘Mr. Wilson’s war’—somebody else’s war, not his. So it has remained. When the great American literary critic Paul Fussell wrote his marvelous “The Great War and Modern Memory,” he focused onEnglish writers. Their American counterparts may have had a lot to say, but somehow Fussell decided it was not an American thing.”
“We altered four images from recent political history, took a fifth out of context, and mixed them with three unadulterated scenes. We wanted to test the power of photographic editing to warp people’s memories.”
“How reliable is human memory? Most of us believe that our memory is like a video camera, capturing an accurate record that can be reviewed at a later date.
But the truth is our memories can deceive us — and they often do.
Numerous scientific studies show that memories can fade, shift and distort over time.”