Book Review: The Memory Illusion

by @edent | # | 1 comment

The Memory Illusion - Julia Shaw

A pair of spectables in front of a blank face.
In The Memory Illusion, forensic psychologist and memory expert Dr Julia Shaw draws on the latest research to show why our memories so often play tricks on us - and how, if we understand their fallibility, we can actually improve their accuracy. The result is an exploration of our minds that both fascinating and unnerving, and that will make you question how much you can ever truly know about yourself.

Possibly the most disturbing book I've read. Your mind is nothing. Your memories are mailable. Everything you think you remember can be trivially rewritten. Oh, and Dr Shaw can scramble your brain with nothing more than her superpowers words.

I've had a hard time reading academic books recently. So I was most encouraged by the intro:

I live by this philosophy of explanatory parsimony myself, though of course it does sometimes come at the cost of explanatory adequacy. In other words, when I explain concepts by using analogies, stories or simplifications, I always risk losing some of the nuances of the inherently complex issues under discussion.

The book is beautifully laid out, and has a light tone which pushes through some of the drier aspects of neuroscience. I loved the way it ran through the history of memory - right up to cutting edge research.

I completely recommend this book. And I have fond memories of reading it. I think.

One thought on “Book Review: The Memory Illusion

  1. There is nothing to remember. Only create. Reality is an illusion and we are made of stories.

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