Neuroscientist Lisa Genova, author of the beautiful novel Still Alice, releases non-fiction book on Memory

A Neuroscientist’s Poignant Study of How We For­get Most Things in Life (The New Yorker):

Any study of mem­o­ry is, in the main, a study of its frailty. In “Remem­ber,” an engross­ing sur­vey of the lat­est research, Lisa Gen­o­va explains that a healthy brain quick­ly for­gets most of what pass­es into con­scious aware­ness. The frag­ments of expe­ri­ence that do get encod­ed into long-term mem­o­ry are then sub­ject to “cre­ative edit­ing.” To remem­ber an event is to reimag­ine it; in the reimag­in­ing, we inad­ver­tent­ly intro­duce new infor­ma­tion, often col­ored by our cur­rent emo­tion­al state. A dream, a sug­ges­tion, and even the mere pas­sage of time can warp a mem­o­ry. It is sober­ing to real­ize that three out of four pris­on­ers who are lat­er exon­er­at­ed through DNA evi­dence were ini­tial­ly con­vict­ed on the basis of eye­wit­ness tes­ti­mo­ny. “You can be 100 per­cent con­fi­dent in your vivid mem­o­ry,” Gen­o­va writes, “and still be 100 per­cent wrong.”

Gen­o­va, a neu­ro­sci­en­tist by train­ing, has spent most of her work­ing life writ­ing fic­tion about char­ac­ters with var­i­ous neu­ro­log­i­cal mal­adies. Her nov­el “Still Alice,” from 2007, cen­tered on a Har­vard psy­chol­o­gy pro­fes­sor who is diag­nosed with ear­ly-onset Alzheimer’s. In “Remem­ber,” her first non­fic­tion work, Gen­o­va assures her read­ers that only two per cent of Alzheimer’s cas­es are of the strict­ly inher­it­ed, ear­ly-onset kind. For most of us, our chances of devel­op­ing the dis­ease are high­ly amenable to interventions…

From the Kirkus Review of Remem­ber: The Sci­ence of Mem­o­ry and the Art of For­get­ting:

The neu­ro­sci­en­tist and best­selling author of Still Alice explains how mem­o­ries are made, how to retrieve them, and why for­get­ting the rea­son you walked into the kitchen is no rea­son to panic…Genova’s plen­ti­ful anec­dotes from her per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al lives make it easy for read­ers to relate, and her obvi­ous exper­tise in mem­o­ry and the brain results in a book that is more insight­ful than many oth­ers on the subject.

Sharp writ­ing and acces­si­ble sto­ry­telling make for a com­pelling read.

Related reading:

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SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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