The Mind of a Mnemonist : A Little Book about a Vast Memory, With a New Foreword by Jerome S. Bruner
This study explores the inner world of a rare human phenomenon-a man who was endowed with virtually limitless powers of memory. From his intimate knowledge of S., the mnemonist, gained from conversations and testing over a period of almost thirty years, A. R. Luria is able to reveal in rich detail not only the obvious strengths of S.'s astonishing memory but also his surprising weaknesses: his crippling inability to forget, his pattern of reacting passively to life, and his uniquely handicapped personality.
- Paperback | 192 pages
- 133 x 203 x 10.41mm | 227g
- 30 Apr 1987
- HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge, Mass, United States
- English, Russian
- Revised ed.
- 7 line illustrations, 4 tables
Table of contents
Foreword to the 1987 Edition Foreword to the First Edition Preface 1. Introduction 2. The Beginning of the Research 3. His Memory The Initial Facts Synesthesia Words and Images Difficulties Eidotechnique The Art Of Forgetting 4. His World People and Things Words 5. His Mind His Strong Points His Weak Points 6. His Control of Behavior The Objective Data A Pew Words About Magic 7. His Personality
A distinguished Soviet psychologist's study...[of a] young man who was discovered to have a literally limitless memory and eventually became a professional mnemonist. Experiments and interviews over the years showed that his memory was based on synesthesia (turning sounds into vivid visual imagery), that he could forget anything only by an act of will, that he solved problems in a peculiar crablike fashion that worked, and that he was handicapped intellectually because he could not make discriminations, and because every abstraction and idea immediately dissolved into an image for him. It is all fascinating and delightful. New Yorker Luria's essay is a model of lucid presentation and is an altogether convincing description of a man whose whole personality and fate was conditioned by an intellectual idiosyncrasy. Times Literary Supplement [A] compassionate and vivid portrait. Los Angeles Times Book Review A welcome re-issue of an English translation of Alexander Luria's famous case-history of hypermnestic man. The study remains the classic paradigm of what Luria called 'romantic science,' a genre characterized by individual portraiture based on an assessment of operative psychological processes. The opening section analyses in some detail the subject's extraordinary capacity for recall and demonstrates the association between the persistence of iconic memory and a highly developed synaesthesia. The remainder of the book deals with the subject's construction of the world, his mental strengths and weaknesses, his control of behaviour and his personality. The result is a contribution to literature as well as to science. Psychological Medicine
About A. R. Luria
A. R. Luria was Professor of Psychology at Lomonosov Moscow State University. Jerome Bruner was University Professor at New York University.