Pieces of Light

Pieces of Light : The New Science of Memory

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Shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize 2013 and the 2013 Best Book of Ideas Prize. Memory is an essential part of who we are. But what are memories, and how are they created? A new consensus is emerging among cognitive scientists: rather than possessing a particular memory from our past, like a snapshot, we construct it anew each time we are called upon to remember. Remembering is an act of narrative as much as it is the product of a neurological process. Pieces of Light illuminates this theory through a collection of human stories, each illustrating a facet of memory's complex synergy of cognitive and neurological functions. Drawing on case studies, personal experience and the latest research, Charles Fernyhough delves into the memories of the very young and very old, and explores how amnesia and trauma can affect how we view the past. Exquisitely written and meticulously researched, Pieces of Light blends science and literature, the ordinary and the extraordinary, to illuminate the way we remember and forget.

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  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 22mm | 287g
  • Profile Books Ltd
  • LondonUnited Kingdom
  • English
  • 1846684498
  • 9781846684494
  • 78,349

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Outstanding...draws on both science and art to marvellous effect Observer A captivating journey into the mind...told with great style Telegraph An immense pleasure New Scientist Exhilarating...a compelling case TLS A gifted writer FT Both playful and profound, a wonderfully memorable read -- Douwe Draaisma, author of Why Life Speeds Up As You Get Older A beautifully written, absorbing read - a fascinating journey through the latest science of memory -- Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor, University of California, Irvine In this enthralling tour of human memory, Charles Fernyhough - himself a hybrid of science and poetry - reveals the mysterious forces behind these stories that shape our lives. -- Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works 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, insightful and thought provoking...will 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. A sophisticated blend of findings from science and ideas from literature...at times moving and very rewarding Times Higher Education A captivating journey into the mind Daily Telegraph As absorbing as it is thought-provoking -- Julian Fleming Sunday Business Post

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About Charles Fernyhough

Charles Fernyhough is the author of two novels, The Auctioneer (Fourth Estate), and A Box of Birds(Unbound), and has contributed to the Guardian, TIME Ideas, Sunday Telegraph, Financial Times, Sydney Morning Herald, and Focus Magazine. He has published many scientific articles on the relation between language and thought, and his ideas on thinking as a dialogue with the self have been influential in several fields. He is a part-time Professor in Psychology at Durham University, where he directs Hearing the Voice, a project on inner voices funded by the Wellcome Trust.

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Reviews from Goodreads.com