The Memory Illusion

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More About This Title The Memory Illusion

English

Memories make us who we are—yet the truth is they are far from being the accurate record we like to think they are. We can all admit to occasional memory lapses, but what if we have the potential for more profound errors of memory, even verging on outright fabrication and self-deception? Forensic psychologist and memory expert Dr. Julia Shaw uses the latest research to show the astonishing variety of ways in which our brains can be led astray. She shows why we can misappropriate other people's memories, 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 awareness of its fallibility.

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Dr. Julia Shaw is a regular contributor to Scientific American.

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"Shaw’s debut book is a spryly paced, fun, sometimes frightening exploration of how we remember – and why everyone remembers things that never truly happened . . . Her book is equal parts breezy guide through the recent lessons we’ve learned about memory, and a loving tribute to the sometimes eccentric researchers who toiled away in the laboratory to uncover them . . . Shaw's quirky charm enlivens the book throughout." —Pacific Standard
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