Few things are as essential to our lives-and as apparently unfathomable-as our memories. As Jane Austen's heroine Fanny Price remarks in Mansfield Park, "if any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory . . . sometimes so retentive and so serviceable, so obedient-and at others so bewildered and so weak."
In Memory, David Samuel draws on a lifetime of scientific research to produce an informative and wide-ranging view of the subject. He examines how memory has been investigated in the past and what modern studies of brain structure and function can tell us about it. He then goes on to discuss long-term, short-term, and working memory, the limits to and normal loss of memory, the effects of alcohol, drugs and anxiety, Alzheimer's, and both deliberate and unintentional fraud in "tricks of memory."
While exploring the future of memory research, he also addresses the age-old questions of how to improve our memory and why certain people, such as diplomats, actors and doormen, have such good memories.