Home

Featured

Remembering What Never Happened

Meera Lee ,

I’m rather envious of people who can vividly recall the precise scents and flavors of magnificent meals they once had years ago, or know what their loved ones were wearing on their first date (I have no idea what my husband was wearing when he left the house this morning). It’s impossible, I think, not to be fascinated by photographic memories such as those described by Argentine essayist and poet Jorge Luis Borges in his story Funes the Memorious, about a man who “remembered the shapes of the clouds in the south at dawn on the 30th of April of 1882, and could compare them in his recollection with the marbled grain in the design of a leather-bound book which he had seen only once…”We’ve known for some decades that human memory is extremely fallible; remembered facts can alter over time without our being aware of the changes, and it’s possible for us to be manipulated into developing crisp, detailed false memories of events we never experienced. But is this still true of people with hyperthymesia, also known as “highly superior autobiographical memory” (HSAM)? Those with this extraordinarily rare ability are like real-life Funes, capable of richly reconstructing specific, detailed episodes from every single day of their lives, going back to about the age of 6 or 8. Was it kung pao chicken or a mushroom omelet they’d had after playing tennis with Tanya on that windy autumn Saturday in 1982?

Newest

The Last Taboo

Primatologist Frans de Waal on Why
Psychology Shouldn't Ignore Power
Being Human ,

What drives a man to work toward the
position of CEO or run for political office? …

Realism vs. Idealism

Science or Religion? Being Human ,

Dr. Stephen Hicks, Professor of Philosophy at
Rockford College and CEE's Executive …

Spotlight

Popular

Monsters Incorporated

Michael Taft ,

When was the last time you were stalked and
attacked by a hungry mountain lion—or any
other large predator for that matter? No
matter where you live in the world or your …

Attention

Paying Attention to Attention Peter Baumann ,

Our attention seems instinctively attracted to
what we perceive as being most important, the …

The Quiet Guest

Robert Sapolsky, Toxoplasma gondii, and
the question of free will
Meera Lee ,

Every year, the online salon Edge.org invites
leading scientists, philosophers, artists, …