What Steven Pinker did for language and what Daniel Dennett did for consciousness, Daniel Schacter does for memory--he lets the public in on the cutting-edge research that has changed what we know about a body of knowledge with enormous implications for everyday life. 30 photos.What Steven Pinker did for language and what Daniel Dennett did for consciousness, Daniel Schacter does for memory--he lets the public in on the cutting-edge research that has changed what we know about a body of knowledge with enormous implications for everyday life. 30 photos.Read Less
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This book is the best I've read to date on the subject of memory--and I include Schacter's previous work.
Schacter includes the most useful discussion of false memory I have found. He possesses a sound economy of words, yet provides a great deal of analysis. By contrast with most writing on the subject, the observations contained here are not steeped in personal idealogy or polar positions. He acknowledges the serious problems in doing research on "recovered" memory, false memory, and induced memory--and yet manages to convey well-considered information about those phenomena.
The book's presentations of research results and observations about how memory works strike an objective balance rather than attempt to persuade either that all so-called "recovered" memory is false or that the recovered memory movement is the greatest therapeutic money-making idea since sliced bread. A true scientist, Schacter also stops short of calling names or accusing others of bad faith while offering incisive criticism of conclusions he finds faulty.
The book's scope is quite broad, going well beyond my narrow interest in (and his relatively brief section on) false memory. It includes useful and well-researched description discussion of virtually all aspects of memory--such topics as brain injury, stroke, the functioning of savants, and well-told case histories of persons whose memories and capacities to remember are unusual in various ways.
Although not written as entertainment, the book exhibits a good-humored style. If you were intrigued by Oliver Sacks' "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat," you will enjoy Schacter's case studies.
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