Individual and Collective Memory Consolidation: Analogous Processes on Different Levels

Guests: Wenyi Zhang and Thomas J. Anastasio, Ph.D.

The process by which we form memories is known as consolidation: converting spare bits of information into a stable representation of events. But four University of Illinois faculty claim that this process does not only apply to individuals, but to social groups as well. This could imply the existence of collective retrograde amnesia—the loss of particular memories by an entire social group.

Recovered Memory

Guest: Elizabeth Loftus.

Recent studies have shown that it's possible to make people believe they have had experiences they didn't have. They can also be led to believe that these experiences were extremely traumatic—or they would have been, if they had happened. Today on Focus, we're joined by well-known memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus from the University of California at Irvine. We'll talk about her work and review some of the controversy over recovered memories.

The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers

Guest: Daniel L. Schacter.

Absentmindedness, transience, blocking, misattribution, suggestibility, bias, and persistence. These are The Seven Sins of Memory according to Daniel Schacter. He joins Focus today to explore these instances of memory failure, suggesting that "failure" is actually a misnomer—and that these miscues are signs that memory is working as it should.

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