How are memories created—and destroyed? Why do some of us recall the past vividly, while others retain only a few mental snapshots? Big Think explores these and other questions in an unforgettable series of six videos (four have been made available as of now):
An Attack of Memory?
Siri Hustvedt (Novelist): The bizarre seizure that struck the author at her father’s memorial service launched her on an exploration of neurology, psychology, and the ancient study of buried memory.
How Memories Are Made, and Lost
Ottavio Arancio (Professor, Taub Institute for Research in Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, Columbia University): A protein that scientists once thought was a “piece of garbage in the brain” turns out to play a key role in memory formation. At high concentrations, however, it spells “the beginning of the end for memory.”
Is Multitasking Bad for the Brain?
Gary Small (Professor of Psychiatry and Aging, UCLA School of Medicine): In an age of cell phones, PDAs, and computers, the intense mental stress of continually paying only partial attention may be decreasing our memory capacity.
The above videos are excerpts from larger interviews with the speakers. Click on their names to get to the pages that offer the full interview with each of them.