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Memory, Brain, and Belief (Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative) Reprint Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674007192
ISBN-10: 0674007190
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The process of recalling things, people, and events--using our memory--is something we do every day but think little about. Schacter (psychology, Harvard Univ.) and Scarry (English, Harvard Univ.), editors of this collection of conference papers, seek to zero in on this ubiquitous if ill-defined activity by examining it from a variety of perspectives. Working within the context of Harvard University's Initiative in Mind/Brain/Behavior, their interdisciplinary group of contributors approaches the subject from the perspective of the humanities as well as neurobiology, from psychiatry and literary analysis, through religious studies and economics. Chapters examine memory as a biological process, as consciousness, and as an aspect of personal history or autobiography; contributors attend to the distinctions between belief, as a conscious, qualifying notion, and memory, as a deeper more elusive process. The book's multidisciplinary approach makes for innovative insight into the subject; the writing and research is clear and well presented, accessible to the uninformed reader but still academically rigorous. Recommended for large public and academic libraries.
-David E. Valencia, King Cty. Lib. Sys., Federal Way WA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

The process of recalling things, people and events--using our memory--is something we do every day but think little about. Schacter and Scarry, editors of this collection of conference papers, seek to zero in on this ubiquitous, if ill-defined, activity by examining it from a variety of perspectives...The book's multidisciplinary approach makes for innovative insight into the subject; the writing and research is clear and well presented, accessible to the uninformed reader but still academically rigorous. (David E. Valencia Library Journal)

The decidedly interdisciplinary anthology brings together researchers from neuroscience, cognitive psychology, literature and medicine to discuss the nature of memory and belief...Researchers present interesting results indicating that one's own memories of the past are strongly influenced by one's present beliefs, current experience and even nonconscious influences. The picture of memory presented throughout these essays is both fascinating and disquieting...It is uncomfortable to be told that we do not know our own minds and past experiences as well as we think we do, but it makes for captivating reading...An interesting and useful contribution to the growing body of research on memory, belief, and autobiography. (James R. Beebe Metapsychology 2002-01-28)

The eleven chapters, and a masterful summary by Damasio, present many facets of the problem, from the paranoid delusions of the schizophrenic to experimentally provoked errors in memory. (Robert W. Doty The Quarterly Review of Biology)
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Product Details

  • Series: Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; Reprint edition (September 30, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674007190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674007192
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,713,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Incantessimo VINE VOICE on November 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Daniel Schacter, the expert on memory and the brain and professor at Harvard University, has once again delivered a fascinating volume on the important subject of memory, the brain and belief.
The book is divided into three parts, illustrating its interdisciplinary approach. Part I: Cognitive, Neurological and Pathological Perspectives. Part II: Conscious and Nonconscious Aspects of Memory and Belief: From Social Judgments to Brain Mechanisms. Part II: Memory and Belief in Autobiographical Recall and Autobiography.
The last is of particular interest to the non-scientist interested in ideas of 'self' and the construction of autobiography. The articles in part III include: 'Constructing and Appraising Past Selves' (by Michael Ross and Anne Wilson), 'Memory and Belief in Development' (by Katherine Nelson), 'Autobiography, Identity and the Fictions of Memory' (by Paul John Eakin), and 'Autobiography as Moral Battleground' (by Sissela Bok). There is a conclusion written by Antonio Damasio.
The issue of memory, false memory, autobiography and the self are critical for subjects such as anthropology, sociology, philosophy, history and theology, yet too often thses subjects in the social sciences and humanities completely ignore the findings and theories of science. Here, they are brought together in a format eminently readable to the non-specialist. As this process continues, led by innovative minds such as Schacter, there will no longer be any excuse for scholars to shame themselves in their ignorance.
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Format: Paperback
The part of the body that controls everything from feelings to thoughts to behavior is the brain, and the part of the body we understand the least...is the brain. Thus, any book about the brain is 90% speculative and 10% fact, and researchers like Steven Pinker will question even this 10%. That said, here is an extremely important but largely academic book that begins to peel back the veils of how our brains turn reality into memories, and what the reader comes away with is how profoundly inaccurate the brain can be when reconstructing this map of the "world" out there. This is the type of book that is essential to read if you want to know what to research next or draw some preliminary conclusions about the nature of human consciousness and the neural mechanisms that are involved. This anthology also suggests that most of our conscious beliefs are various forms of structured memories, and thus our beliefs are also interpretations of the world, filled with inaccuracies and distortions.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a very well performed examination of how the brain processes and sorts information based on several research papers and experimentation. Edited by Daniel Schacter and Elaine Scarry, this book takes a scientific view upon these phenomena, provides a stimulating conversation which looks into how the brain might be working, and proposes conclusions. It is a very good read filled with plenty of useful information that I have not been able to easily find on my own. It is broken up into 4 sections: an introductory section, one on current scientific perspectives, one on aspects of memory and belief, and the last about memory/belief effects on autobiographical recall.

I realize that the introductory chapter was necessary, but it was very tiring to filter through. Also most of the discrepancies they needed to set up for other chapters could have just as easily been placed into the first relevant chapter. That being said, they did a very good job of explaining why they needed to pre-define some of these terms. In addition, it showed how we use our previous experiences to alter our actions. More importantly, it explained how not all of our experiences have this effect. "Only organisms that can retrieve stored information in order to increase the likelihood of achieving some adaptive end will gain any advantage from memory." That being said, they clearly define the difference between memory and learning. Memory are simply experiences that we can call upon, however learning is the ability to alter future actions based upon memory.

My favorite part of the book was the first section (chapters 2-4). These chapters focused on how the brain deals with information. Here, they discussed factors concerning how false memories are fabricated.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bringing the current research and thinking together is what this book does. Well worth reading.
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