Memory: 4 articles that explore the mystery and magic of how we remember

Memory - 4 articles

It’s not possible to conceive living without memory. Everything we do is shaped by our remembrances of events in the past and extrapolations of lessons learned from these imprints, into the future. Yet, memory is a mystery that modern science, fMRIs and all, has not been able to fathom in any meaningful way. Listed below are 4 articles that deal with intriguing aspects of human memory.


  • Remember this. What is a memory? The best that neuroscientists can do for the moment is this: A memory is a stored pattern of connections between neurons in the brain. There are about a hundred billion of those neurons, each of which can make perhaps 5,000 to 10,000 synaptic connections with other neurons, which makes a total of about five hundred trillion to a thousand trillion synapses in the average adult brain. By comparison there are only about 32 trillion bytes of information in the entire Library of Congress’s print collection. (National Geographic Magazine)
  • Total recall: the people who never forget. Highly superior autobiographical memory, or HSAM, is a condition shared by around 60 known people. They can remember most of the days of their lives as clearly as the rest of us remember the recent past, with a mixture of broad strokes and sharp detail. They can actively recall a memory of 20 years ago as easily as a memory of two days ago, but these memories are also triggered involuntarily. (The Guardian).
  • You have no idea what happened. Memories of emotional events do indeed differ substantially from regular memories. When it comes to the central details of the event, they are clearer and more accurate. But when it comes to peripheral details, they are worse. And our confidence in them, while almost always strong, is often misplaced. (The New Yorker)
  • The great forgetting. Our first three years are usually a blur and we don’t remember much before age seven. What are we hiding from ourselves? (Aeon)
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