- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Profile Books (4 July 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1846684498
- ISBN-13: 978-1846684494
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 234,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Pieces of Light: The new science of memory Paperback – 4 Jul 2013
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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)
In this enthralling tour of human memory, Charles Fernyhough - himself a hybrid of science and poetry - reveals the mysterious forces behind these stories that shape our lives. (Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works)
Fernyhough weaves literature and science to expose our rich, beautiful relationship with our past and future selves. (Dr. David Eagleman, Neuroscientist and author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain)
Combining the engaging style of a novelist with the rigour of a scientist, insightful and thought provoking...will linger in your memory and change the way you think about it. (Daniel L. Schacter, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers.)
A sophisticated blend of findings from science and ideas from literature...at times moving and very rewarding (Times Higher Education)
A captivating journey into the mind (Daily Telegraph 2013-06-29)
As absorbing as it is thought-provoking (Julian Fleming Sunday Business Post 2013-07-07)
Why do we remember certain things but forget others?See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It seems that our memories of past events aren't stored in one place, like a video film, just waiting to be re-run, but in bits and pieces of information in different parts of the brain; smell in one place, sound in another, visual and emotional cues in others. When we try to remember something that happened to us in the past, our imagination comes into play to reconstruct the memory as a narrative, which explains why people remember things so differently, and memories alter through time - a minor detail when the event took place might acquire real significance later.
In amnesia victims, where the part of the brain that controls imagination is damaged, memory is severely disrupted and `forward thinking' - the ability to speculate about the future - is impossible.
The way we encode our lives in the memory is also interesting - apparently we are all natural story-tellers. `Narrative,' Fernyhough states, `is a key organisational force in autobiographical memory.' We remember events as stories, pieces of narrative. The author comments in the book, `I set out to write about some science, and I ended up by telling a lot of stories'.Read more ›
As Rolf Dobelli neatly explains in "The Art of Thinking Clearly" we have an inherent bias towards remembering stories rather than facts and Charles Fernyhough uses this to create a book about memory that is indeed memorable for all the right reasons.
In ''Pieces of Light: The New Science of Memory'', Charles Fernyhough proposes a different way of looking at memory. He suggests that current research shows that memories are not all locked away in a vault ready for retrieval, but that every time we have a memory, we are rebuilding it on each occasion. He shows how this can mean people of different ages will remember things from different parts of their lives, depending on how their brains are wired and what can cause forgetting.
Although he doesn't specifically mention Alzheimer's, he talks about what can act as a block to memory in various ways and how traumatic events can take their own hold over our memories but can, in turn, be handled. There is a brief mention of how seemingly long forgotten events can be sparked into life with the right cues and how memories can be falsely generated or influenced by external factors, particularly in the very young.
Fernyhough writes in a very narrative style, which is unusual in what is essentially a textbook, but which gives the book a better flow than it may otherwise have had. He has written a novel and that experience stands him in good stead here. Even when the material does become a little more complicated, as he reports of research carried out on specific areas of the brain, his style means the book is always readable.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I gave up less than a third of the way through with still no scientific revelations in sight as it maundered along.Published 16 months ago by Cunctator
This looks like a popular science book but reads like literary non-fiction. It minimizes the science, weaves in stories based on personal experience, draws on fiction, and is slow... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Sophie Newton
I read The Baby in the Mirror a few years ago and found it fascinating. Before buying Pieces of Light (which I think is a pun on Pieces of Eight, for buried treasure) I'd read... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Aurifex
Some interesting new ways of seeing memory. Goes a little too much into the authors autobiography for examples but otherwise a good read for research on the subject or general... Read morePublished on 1 Feb. 2014 by zalan k