Pieces of Light: How the New Science of Memory Illuminates the Stories We Tell about Our Pasts

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9780062237897: Pieces of Light: How the New Science of Memory Illuminates the Stories We Tell about Our Pasts

Shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize 2013 and the 2013 Best Book of Ideas Prize.

Memory is an essential part of who we are. But what are memories, and how are they created? A new consensus is emerging among cognitive scientists: rather than possessing a particular memory from our past, like a snapshot, we construct it anew each time we are called upon to remember. Remembering is an act of narrative as much as it is the product of a neurological process. Pieces of Light illuminates this theory through a collection of human stories, each illustrating a facet of memory's complex synergy of cognitive and neurological functions.

Drawing on case studies, personal experience and the latest research, Charles Fernyhough delves into the memories of the very young and very old, and explores how amnesia and trauma can affect how we view the past. Exquisitely written and meticulously researched, Pieces of Light blends science and literature, the ordinary and the extraordinary, to illuminate the way we remember and forget.

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Review:

Outstanding...draws on both science and art to marvellous effect ( Observer)

A captivating journey into the mind...told with great style ( Telegraph)

An immense pleasure ( New Scientist)

Exhilarating...a compelling case ( TLS)

A gifted writer ( FT)

Both playful and profound, a wonderfully memorable read (Douwe Draaisma, author of Why Life Speeds Up As You Get Older)

A beautifully written, absorbing read - a fascinating journey through the latest science of memory (Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor, University of California, Irvine)

In this enthralling tour of human memory, Charles Fernyhough - himself a hybrid of science and poetry - reveals the mysterious forces behind these stories that shape our lives. (Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works)

Fernyhough weaves literature and science to expose our rich, beautiful relationship with our past and future selves. (Dr. David Eagleman, Neuroscientist and author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain)

Combining the engaging style of a novelist with the rigour of a scientist, insightful and thought provoking...will linger in your memory and change the way you think about it. (Daniel L. Schacter, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers.)

A sophisticated blend of findings from science and ideas from literature...at times moving and very rewarding ( Times Higher Education)

A captivating journey into the mind ( Daily Telegraph 2013-06-29)

As absorbing as it is thought-provoking (Julian Fleming Sunday Business Post 2013-07-07)

Book Description:

Why do we remember certain things but forget others?

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