Pieces of Light: The New Science of Memory
Why do we remember certain things but forget others? Memory is an essential part of who we are. But what are memories, and how are they created? A new consensus is emerging among cognitive scientists: rather than possessing a particular memory from our past, like a snapshot, we construct it anew each time we are called upon to remember. Remembering is an act of narrative as much as it is the product of a neurological process. Pieces of Light illuminates this theory through a collection of human stories, each illustrating a facet of memory's complex synergy of cognitive and neurological functions. Drawing on case studies, personal experience and the latest research, Charles Fernyhough delves into the memories of the very young and very old, and explores how amnesia and trauma can affect how we view the past. Exquisitely written and meticulously researched, Pieces of Light blends science and literature, the ordinary and the extraordinary, to illuminate the way we remember and forget.
"'Outstanding...draws on both science and art to marvellous effect' (Observer) 'A captivating journey into the mind...told with great style' (Telegraph) 'An immense pleasure' (New Scientist) 'Exhilarating...a compelling case' (TLS) 'A gifted writer' (FT) 'Both playful and profound, a wonderfully memorable read' (Douwe Draaisma, author of Why Life Speeds Up As You Get Older) 'A beautifully written, absorbing read - a fascinating journey through the latest science of memory' (Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor, University of California, Irvine)"
Dr Charles Fernyhough is a writer and psychologist. His previous book, The Baby in the Mirror, was also critically acclaimed in the UK and has been translated into seven languages. He is a Reader in Psychology at Durham University and has written for the Guardian, Financial Times and Sunday Telegraph.