Memories Can Be Injected and Survive Amputation and Metamorphosis
If a headless worm can regrow a memory, then where is the memory stored? And, if a memory can regenerate, could you transfer it?Photograph by Rattiya Thongdumhyu / Shutterstock The study of memory has always been one of the stranger outposts of science. In the 1950s, an unknown psychology professor at the University of Michigan […]
In Brain’s Electrical Ripples, Markers for Memories Appear
Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. It’s very easy to break things in biology,” said Loren Frank, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco. “It’s really hard to make them work better.” Yet against the odds, researchers at the New York University School of Medicine reported earlier this summer that they had improved the […]
The Neural Similarities Between Remembering and Imagining
The act of recalling something that happened to you looks very much like what happens when you imagine something new.Photograph by HBRH / Shutterstock Imagine a living room. Not yours or your friend’s or one you saw in a home makeover show, but one purely from your imagination—perhaps your ideal living room. You should have […]
Many of Our Beliefs Are Unconscious: A Response to Nick Chater
After a few years of driving, you are able to hold conversations while navigating a busy city. How is this possible without unconscious thought?Photograph by wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock Nick Chater has put forward a bold claim in his recent book, The Mind Is Flat, as well as in an article and interview in Nautilus: that […]
The Brilliant “Baloney Slicer” That Started the Digital Age
In the early 1950s, the U.S. Air Force Supply Depot in Ohio was looking for a faster way to store and fetch information from its sizable inventory. They had 50,000 items in their records and wanted instant access to each one of them. The dominant storage technologies of the time—punch cards, magnetic tape and magnetic […]
If Trauma Victims Forget, What Is Lost to Society?
A pill to dampen memories stirs hope and worry.
A Grandfather’s Final Gift Recalls a Different Way of Life
One evening four years ago, photographer Andrea Tese received a phone call from a home-care nurse. Could she come to her grandfather’s house to assess the situation? the nurse asked. Her grandfather had been very ill and had stipulated he did not want to die inside a hospital; he wanted to stay at home. But […]
The Pasta Theory of Memory & Your Personal Beginning of Time
“[mother’s day memories]”kyle post via Flickr under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0) license In the beginning, my mother is carrying me in her arms as she closes a screen door. I remember her humming as she walks along, and then she sits down on a bench that is surrounded by greenery. That’s all that is […]
Decapitation, But Not Cannibalism, Might Transmit Memories
Cross-section of a planarianJubal Harshaw via Shutterstock Earlier this year, scientists published a bizarre finding: A decapitated flatworm that grows a new head seems to retain memories from its old one. Weird—but not even close to the weirdest finding in the annals of flatworm memory research. Half a century ago, experiments by James McConnell the […]
How Much Do You Remember the Old-Fashioned Way, Sans Google?
It began like so many creative endeavors—with a barstool discussion. “Who would be your television dad?” New York artist Amanda Tiller mused. A friend chose Cliff Huxtable, Bill Cosby’s alter ego on The Cosby Show. Later, Tiller thought a lot about Cosby and his famously be-sweatered character: We all know Cliff, a beloved father, doctor, […]