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

Customer Reviews:

Finding Faults, and Praising Them

By R. Hardy "Rob Hardy" - July 25, 2001

Everyone, even young people, has suffered the frustration of an imperfect memory. What does not get acknowledged is that those frustrations, as common as they are, are only frustrating because they are so uncommon. Most of the time our memories function incredibly well. But as in most of neuroscience, when the brain doesn't function well, that's when we get a picture of what it is doing. A fascinating book, _The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers_ (Houghton Mifflin) by Daniel L. Schacter, details just how memory goes wrong, and gives some answers about why. Most important, it tells how at least some of memory's mistakes are directly related to it's remarkable, almost error-free, functioning. Schacter is a neuropsychologist who has written about memory in both academic and popular publications, but his descriptions of the seven ways memory fails are novel, and everyone will recognize at least some of the failures, since they are universal.Schacter devotes... read more

Venial Sins

By Rivkah Maccaby "Rivkah Maccaby" - December 7, 2001

Even if this hadn't been quite such a good book as it is, I would have given it five stars for being neither about analogy nor pathology. I am tired of both, because as much as it is handy to refer to computer data storage as "memory," it really is nothing like human memory, and as much as my mother sees ghouls of Alzheimer's over every lost pen, the truth is that her memory isn't as good as, well, as she remembers it being.Without being about pathology, this book is about the fallibility of memory; or rather I should say, the failure of memory to live up to the expectations that we have for it. Actually, this book has made me think about the purpose and function of memory, and I've concluded that it actually works rather well; if we had little videocameras in our frontal lobes, they wouldn't serve us as well as the memory functions we actually have, and in fact, this is the subject of the final chapter.The seven "sins" of memory are transience,... read more

Boggling stuff about how our minds remember & forget!

By Rebecca Brown "rebeccasreads" - July 11, 2001

Just like the seven deadly sins, the seven memory sins appear routinely in everyday life. How does transcience reflect a weakening of memory over time, how does absent-mindedness occur when failure of attention sabotages memory & how blocking happens when we can't retrieve a name we know well.What startled me about Daniel L. Schacter's point of view is his re-casting of the mold of sin. We all have it that sins are dreadful things that lurk around every corner just waiting to mug us. This researcher-cum-author posits otherwise. You will learn about the biology of memory, the difference between brain & mind, forgetfulness & remembering &, which is perhaps the most novel aspect of this book: discover another way of perceiving "sin".There are The Three Sins of Omission: 1) transcience - here today/gone tomorrow. 2) absent-mindedness - if my head wasn't attached to my neck I'd lose it. 3) blocking - ah, this one is hellatious, especially for a... read more

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