Think you have a good memory? Think again.
Memories are our most cherished possessions. We rely on them every day of our lives. They make us who we are. And yet the truth is they are far from being the accurate records of the past we like to think they are. True, we can all admit to having suffered occasional memory lapses, such as entering a room and immediately forgetting why or suddenly being unable to recall the name of someone we've met dozens of times. But what if we have the potential for more profound errors of memory, even verging on outright fabrication and self-deception?
In The Memory Illusion, forensic psychologist and memory expert Dr Julia Shaw uses the latest research to show the astonishing variety of ways in which our brains can indeed be led astray. She shows why we can sometimes misappropriate other people's memories, subsequently believing them to be our own. She explains how police officers can imprison an innocent man for life on the basis of 300 denials and just one confession. She demonstrates the way radically false memories can be deliberately implanted, leading people to believe that they brutally murdered a loved one or were abducted by aliens. And she reveals how, in spite of all this, we can improve our memory through simple awareness of its fallibility.
Fascinating and unnerving in equal measure, The Memory Illusion offers a unique insight into the human brain, challenging you to question how much you can ever truly know about yourself.
Dr Julia Shaw is a psychology lecturer and memory researcher at the University of Bedfordshire and is one of only a handful of experts in the world who actively conduct research on complex memory errors related to emotional personal events - so-called 'false memories'. Dr Shaw has published research articles in various international academic journals, written textbook chapters, and presented at many international conferences. She is also heavily involved in teaching classes on memory at the undergraduate and graduate levels, for which she has won two teaching excellence awards.
Besides her teaching and research, she has delivered general business and police-training workshops, has given guest lectures at universities around the world, has evaluated offender diversion programs and works with the UK police to advise on historical sexual and physical abuse cases. She has also been featured as an expert on TV and radio and in UK and international newspapers.
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An unpleasant listen
I never thought I would actually catch myself saying this about a non-fiction book, but here it is: a less arrogant and less condescending tone of the book would have made it so much better and actually enjoyable! Sine the topic of the book is truly fascinating. However, together with the narrator's voice I found it a thoroughly unpleasant listen. On a plus side (from the few chapters I managed to listen to), the book seems to be convincing and easy to follow. From the negative side, even though I found myself agreeing with everything the author was saying, I kept finding myself wanting to actually disagree just because of the self-righteous tone of the book. I tried to keep listening, but since I was not getting any pleasure out of it - was unable to carry on, even though this was exactly the book I was waiting for - a scientific explanation of how memory and brain work. Such a shame! Will be returning it.
No, absolutely not. The author's writing style is not for me.
No, absolutely not.
There is no multitasking or photographic memory...