Sunday, January 28, 2018

False Memories: Robert Thorson: An intriguing commentary on how we shape our fallible memories, published by The Hartford Courant..."Robert Thorson praises Oliver Sacks' book, which looks at how memories are formed and their fallibility."

PASSAGE OF THE DAY: (ON OLIVER SACKS): "Our memories and our motives are inseparable. Essentially, the "us" in "us" is a bundle of memory that makes choices based on that bundle. "Recollection could have no force, no meaning, unless it was allied with motive," he writes. "The two have always been coupled together."Following this setup, he devotes a whole chapter to "The Fallibility of Memory," citing his own proven failures as examples. "It is startling to realize, though, that some of our most cherished memories may never have happened — or may have happened to someone else." Looking back on his case files, he writes of "imagined or real abuse in childhood, of genuine or experimentally implanted memories, of misled witnesses and brain-washed prisoners, of unconscious plagiarism, and of the false memories we all have based on misattribution or source confusion." He concludes that "in the absence of outside confirmation there is no easy way of distinguishing genuine memory or inspiration, felt as such, from those that have been borrowed or suggested."


COMMENTARY: "Robert Thorson: How We Shape Our Fallible Memories," by Robert Thorson, published by The Hartford Courant on January 4, 2018.  Robert M. Thorson is a professor at the University of Connecticut's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at Thanks to the Wrongful Convictions Blog for drawing this commentary to our attention. HL;