Pieces of Light: How the New Science of Memory Illuminates the Stories We Tell about Our Pasts (Hardcover)

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Shortlisted for the 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books

Leading psychologist Charles Fernyhough blends the most current science with literature and personal stories in Pieces of Light: How the New Science of Memory Illuminates the Stories We Tell About Our Pasts.

A new consensus is emerging among cognitive scientists: rather than possessing fixed, unchanging memories, they have found that we create recollections anew each time we are called upon to remember. According to psychologist Charles Fernyhough, remembering is an act of narrative imagination as much as it is the product of a neurological process.

An NPR and Psychology Today contributor, Dr. Fernyhough guides readers through the fascinating new science of autobiographical memory, covering topics such as: navigation, imagination, and the power of sense associations to cue remembering. Exquisitely written and meticulously researched, Pieces of Light brings together science and literature, the ordinary and the extraordinary, to help us better understand our powers of recall and our relationship with the past.

Praise For…


“A thoughtful study of how we make sense of ourselves.”
-Nature

“Fernyhough is a gifted writer who can turn any experience into lively prose. . . . The stories in Pieces of Light . . . will entertain anyone who reads them.”
-Financial Times

“Outstanding. . . . Fernyhough’s skills as a writer are evident both in the beautiful prose and in the way he uses literature to illustrate his argument . . . He draws on both science and art to marvelous effect.”
-Observer (UK)

“A beautifully written, absorbing read -- a fascinating journey through the latest science of memory.”
-Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor, University of California, Irvine

“Both playful and profound, a wonderfully memorable read.”
-Douwe Draaisma, author of Why Life Speeds Up As You Get Older

“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. . . . Pieces of Light will both 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

“Fernyhough takes us on a captivating journey into the mind. And he does so with great style.”
-Telegraph

“A sophisticated blend of findings from science, ideas from literature and examples from personal narratives. . . . Refreshing, well judged and at times moving.”
-Times Higher Education

“An immense pleasure, as Fernyhough casts the emerging science of memory through the lens of his own recollections. . . . Remains restrained and lyrical throughout.”
-New Scientist

“A fascinating snapshot of where our thinking stands on the subject.”
-Independent



Coverage from NPR



Product Details
ISBN: 9780062237897
ISBN-10: 0062237896
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: March 19th, 2013
Pages: 305
Language: English