The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers

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HMH, May 7, 2002 - Psychology - 288 pages
A New York Times Notable Book: A psychologist’s “gripping and thought-provoking” look at how and why our brains sometimes fail us (Steven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works).
 
In this intriguing study, Harvard psychologist Daniel L. Schacter explores the memory miscues that occur in everyday life, placing them into seven categories: absent-mindedness, transience, blocking, misattribution, suggestibility, bias, and persistence. Illustrating these concepts with vivid examples—case studies, literary excerpts, experimental evidence, and accounts of highly visible news events such as the O. J. Simpson verdict, Bill Clinton’s grand jury testimony, and the search for the Oklahoma City bomber—he also delves into striking new scientific research, giving us a glimpse of the fascinating neurology of memory and offering “insight into common malfunctions of the mind” (USA Today).
 
“Though memory failure can amount to little more than a mild annoyance, the consequences of misattribution in eyewitness testimony can be devastating, as can the consequences of suggestibility among pre-school children and among adults with ‘false memory syndrome’ . . . Drawing upon recent neuroimaging research that allows a glimpse of the brain as it learns and remembers, Schacter guides his readers on a fascinating journey of the human mind.” —Library Journal
 
“Clear, entertaining and provocative . . . Encourages a new appreciation of the complexity and fragility of memory.” —The Seattle Times
 
“Should be required reading for police, lawyers, psychologists, and anyone else who wants to understand how memory can go terribly wrong.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
 
“A fascinating journey through paths of memory, its open avenues and blind alleys . . . Lucid, engaging, and enjoyable.” —Jerome Groopman, MD
 
“Compelling in its science and its probing examination of everyday life, The Seven Sins of Memory is also a delightful book, lively and clear.” —Chicago Tribune
 
Winner of the William James Book Award
 
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - iSatyajeet - www.librarything.com

Schacter approaches his task like a teacher. He focuses on seven problems with memory that have undoubtedly been experienced by the average reader: 1. Transience - Our memories weaken over time. 2 ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Krumbs - LibraryThing

An interesting and readable book, but I don't know that it was all that applicable to me or my life. I read it because it sounded intriguing, but I have no idea what I got out of it. It would probably ... Read full review

Contents

1 The Sin 0f Transience
12
2 The Sin of Absentmindedness
41
3 The Sin of Blocking
61
4 The Sin of Misattribution
88
5 The Sin of Suggestibility
112
6 The Sin of Bias
138
7 The Sin of Persistence
161
Vices or Virtues?
184
Back Matter
207
Back Cover
275
Spine
276
Copyright

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Page 18 - I have been shocked, and so have members of my family and friends of mine, at how many things that I have forgotten in the last six years, I think because of the pressure and the pace and the volume of events in the President's life, compounded by the pressure of your four-year inquiry, and all the other things that have happened, I'm amazed there are lots of times when I literally can't remember last week.

About the author (2002)

Daniel L. Schacter is chairman of the psychology department at Harvard University. His book Searching for Memory is a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and one of Library Journal’s Best Science and Technology Books of the Year. The book won the American Psychological Association’s William James Book Award and received outstanding reviews in the New Yorker and Publishers Weekly. Schacter was the keynote speaker at the American Psychological Association conference in 2000 and has appeared on 20/20, NBC’s Sunday Today, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, and, with Alan Alda, on PBS’s Scientific American Frontiers.

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