Theory of Knowledge

Last updated June 2020.

Senior Library collection

Memory in the Real World

This fully revised and updated third edition of the highly acclaimed Memory in the Real World includes recent research in all areas of everyday memory. Distinguished researchers have contributed new and updated material in their own areas of expertise. The controversy about the value of naturalistic research, as opposed to traditional laboratory methods, is outlined, and the two approaches are seen to have converged and become complementary rather than antagonistic.


Our subconscious is an important part of our daily lives, yet how much do we know about its mysterious inner workings? In Incognito, renowned neuroscientist and bestselling author David Eagleman draws on recent discoveries to illuminate the surprising unconscious processes of the brain. Why do you hear your name in a conversation that you didn't think you were listening to? Why does your foot hit the brake pedal before you are conscious of danger ahead? Why are you more likely to marry someone whose name begins with the same letter as yours? Why is it so difficult to keep a secret?

How to Remember (Almost) Everything, Ever!

Struggling to remember all that information they're stuffing you with at school? Want to impress your friends with amazing memory feats? Can't keep on top of all your online passwords? Then you need this book! Packed with cool tricks and fun exercises, How To Remember Almost Everything, Ever will help you hone your memory to super-hero standards. Learn how imagining a walk down your street can help you remember a shopping list, how you can memorise a phone number by picturing the digits as letters, and how music, rhymes and even smells can help. Find out what your brain has in common with a computer, how spies committed things to memory, and how to flummox your parents with memory tricks. How to Remember Almost Everything, Ever is the perfect book for anyone who wants to improve their study skills and make their memory the best it can be.

Videos on Memory

Articles on Memory


Memory - Key concepts

Eyewitness testimony: memory on trial - Eyewitness accounts have long been considered to provide convincing evidence for reaching conclusions in everyday conversations, media reports, social research, and courts of law.

Memory and intuition: some common biases - We tend to retrieve our memories in a very anecdotal way

The role of forgetting - The same memory decay that contributes to making us unreliable eyewitnesses in a court case also appears to contribute to our being able to manage our lives. 

The suggestibility of memory - In Elizabeth Loftus's research on "recovered memory", she discovered how easily memories can be created

Memory, sense perception and emotion : trauma - In some contexts, it seems clear that the emotional impact of direct experience can affect not only the content of memory but also the way memory processes the past.

Collective memory and history - The collective memory, passed on through language, influences a sense of collective identity.

Shared memory and knowledge - It could be argued that, every area of knowledge is largely knowledge of the past - accumulated and passed down over millennia. 

Personal testimony and the shared record - The collective story of a social upheaval is probably more factually reliable, with accumulation of evidence, than one individual's story.

Memory allows us to build our knowledge as we learn from past experience, storing our skills in our procedural memory and our experiences and information in our declarative memory.

Memory allows us to create our identities, understand increasingly our place with other people in a society, and gain a sense of community in our lives. 

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Memory - Questions for reflection

?? How do we know through memory?

?? To what extent is "memory" the content  of what we recall, and to what extent the process of recollection ?

?? Memory and intuition: some common biases

?? What factors can make memories doubtful?

?? To what extent can history be called the "collective memory of the past"?

?? Are remembrances of the past relevant only to our understanding of the past?

?? What are the dangers to knowledge of over-emphasizing the reliability of memory?

Memory - Quotes

'Memory is deceptive because it is coloured by today’s events'  Albert Einstein 

'Memory is man’s greatest friend and worst enemy'  Gilbert Parker 

'It’s surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.'  Barbara Kingsolver 

'No memory is ever alone; it’s at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails that each have their own associations.' Louis L'Amour

'We can invent only with memory' Alphonse Karr

'Language is memory and metaphor'. Storm Jameson

Forgetting is actively regulated

Summary from a new study by researchers at University of Basel,

" In order to function properly, the human brain requires the ability not only to store but also to forget: Through memory loss, unnecessary information is deleted and the nervous system retains its plasticity. A disruption of this process can lead to serious mental disorders. Scientists have now discovered a molecular mechanism that actively regulates the process of forgetting."