White Gloves: How We Create Ourselves Through Memory

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9780029184646: White Gloves: How We Create Ourselves Through Memory

Most of us think of memory as a fixed, unchanging substance that exists permanently in our mind and can be called upon at will. But research shows that this conception is far from the truth. We are constantly rewriting our memories and, in the process, creating ever new personal histories, illustrating that our memory operates in very complex and sometimes puzzling ways. This work explains why some memories can only be recalled in certain physiological states; why seemingly unimportant, small moments lurk in our memory for years for no apparent reason; and why some people have total recall of all that they read and see. It also shows how and why people who witness the same event recall it so differently and how we can often have vivid and detailed memories of events that never occurred.

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From the Back Cover:

Written with 'exceptional clarity and insight' (New York Times), and ranging widely over case studies, scientific knowledge about memory, and personal experience, as well as recent events and trial involving conflicting or 'repressed' memories, Kotre's book gives us a 'fascinating and often moving account of the part which both real and false memories play in our lives' (Anthony Storr).

From Booklist:

Kotre examines in brief and nontechnical terms a variety of memory mechanisms ranging from research findings on neural pathways and specialized memory cells to speculations on repression, age regression, and past lives. He uses simple concepts to explain such phenomena as de{‚}ja{ }vu and to challenge unfounded beliefs. For example, to refute the idea that everything that happens to an individual is stored in one's memory and is potentially accessible, he points out that remembering where we parked at the mall is facilitated by forgetting where we parked on previous trips. He further shows that what we believe we accurately remember often has been reconstructed, as when an event that initially evoked fear and anger is later recalled as a hilarious adventure. Kotre also discusses infantile amnesia, memory maturation from the generic to the thematic in the young and adolescent, and autobiographic and memory changes in the second half of life, particularly in late adulthood. Brenda Grazis

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