How (Fallible) Memory Makes the Self
Many studies have shown how fallible our memories are, from the errors of eyewitness accounts to the gullibility of childhood memories, but does that mean who we think we are is a lie?
What's the Latest Development?
The fallibility of our memories is well documented. Many studies have shown that eyewitness accounts are unreliable and, in an experiment conducted at a British university, people who were shown fake photos of their childhood—their bodies had been digitally inserted into others' vacation photos—came to have memories of those events, sometimes extremely vivid ones. Memory researcher Martin Conway says there are two opposing forces in every memory: recalling what actually happened and fitting the memory with what the self requires.
What's the Big Idea?
While memory has been portrayed as an automatic system of recall, considering how it serves us in an evolutionary sense gives a more accurate picture. Memory, much like everything at its base, is adapted to help us survive. "There is only a limited evolutionary advantage in being able to reminisce about what happened to you, but there is a huge payoff in being able to use that information to work out what is going to happen next. ... Memory is endlessly creative, and at one level it functions just as imagination does."
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
Universities claim to prepare students for the world. How many actually do it?
- Many university mission statements do not live up to their promise, writes Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva, a university designed to develop intellect over content memorization.
- The core competencies that students need for success—critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding, for example—should be intentionally taught, not left to chance.
- These competencies can be summed up with one word: wisdom. True wisdom is the ability to apply one's knowledge appropriately when faced with novel situations.
This is what the world will look like, 250 million years from now
To us humans, the shape and location of oceans and continents seems fixed. But that's only because our lives are so short.
As a doctor, I am reminded every day of the fragility of the human body, how closely mortality lurks just around the corner.
Tyson dives into the search for alien life, dark matter, and the physics of football.
- Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson joins us to talk about one of our favorite subjects: space.
- In the three-chaptered video, Tyson speaks about the search for alien life inside and outside of the Goldilocks Zone, why the term "dark matter" should really be called "dark gravity," and how the rotation of the Earth may have been the deciding factor in a football game.
- These fascinating space facts, as well as others shared in Tyson's books, make it easier for everyone to grasp complex ideas that are literally out of this world.
SpaceX's momentous Crew Dragon launch is a sign of things to come for the space industry, and humanity's future.