[Added June 2001]
I am reading a book by Daniel L. Schacter on memory(Searching for Memory: The Brain, the Mind, and the Past) and by searching online
about his work I have discovered that his last book is about the
“Seven sins of memory”. By the way,the book I am reading is really a magnificent book written by a researcher in the field. So I am looking forward to read
this new book. From an online search the seven sins summarize the
failings of our memory:
We don’t remember something because
- We have forgotten it over time.This is the natural process of forgetting,which
is present also for well coded material.
- We didn’t pay sufficient attention at the time of encoding:where are my glasses?
- The material is temporarily inaccessible.This is a retrieval failure .
This seems to be caused by retrieval of similar items that interfere with
access to the material.This is the well known tip-of-tongue phenomenon.
We remember something inexistent or in a distorted way:
- Attributing an item to an incorrect source.Recalling events that never happened(false memories).
- The recall is distorted by information provided by others.
- The recall is distorted by present knowledge
We have unwanted memories
- Remembering a fact that one would prefer to forget:for example depressed people tend to remember negative events.A trauma produces some physiological changes in the brain that results in the persistence of the memories of the traumatic experience.