The Unbearable Lightness of Memory

It’s the thought of your childhood home. It’s that comforting aroma you can still smell ten years later. It’s the way you define yourself. It’s your memory. Where is memory stored? How do we recall? Why do we forget? We’ll shine a light on these and many other questions about long-term memory from a molecular, psychological, and emotional perspective. The audience discovered how their long-term memories can be naturally twisted, tweaked, and changed, and how memories of the past could also help us peer into the future. We explored the bumpy road even a youthful mind sometimes travels when experiencing déjà vu, succumbing to suggestibility, or having a “senior” moment.

This program was part of The Big, the Small, and the Complex, a Series made possible with the support of The Kavli Prize.

The World Science Festival gathers great minds in science and the arts to produce live and digital content that allows a broad general audience to engage with scientific discoveries. Our mission is to cultivate a general public informed by science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value, and prepared to engage with its implications for the future.

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Original Program Date: June 3, 2011
PARTICIPANTS: Daniel L. Schacter, Lynn Nadel, Todd Sacktor, Elizabeth Phelps

Dan Harris Introduction 00:00

Participant Introductions 02:10

How do we define memory and how do we get memory? 04:18

What are the different kinds of memory? 05:17

Pavlov and conditioning memory. 12:55

Teaching animals to remember. 17:33

What would happen if we gave ZIP to humans? 26:40

Can we remove one specific memory from our lives? 29:21

Updating your memory with memory re-consolidation. 39:30

How close are we to erasing single bad memories? 46:15

The way we remember things incorrectly. 50:00

Donald Thompson and false rape allegations. 53:40

Take the misattribution memory test. 56:40

Emotional memory related to persistence memory. 01:01:35

Josh Foer Author “Moonwalking with Einstein” and his amazing memory 01:10:38

Why does our memory mix up the past? 01:18:40
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