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Pieces of Light: The New Science of Memory by Charles Fernyhough

Pieces of Light

About the book

Published by Profile Books

Leading psychologist Charles Fernyhough blends the most current science with literature and personal stories in Pieces of Light: How the New Science of Memory Illuminates the Stories We Tell About Our Pasts.

A new consensus is emerging among cognitive scientists: rather than possessing fixed, unchanging memories, they have found that we create recollections anew each time we are called upon to remember. According to psychologist Charles Fernyhough, remembering is an act of narrative imagination as much as it is the product of a neurological process.

An NPR and Psychology Today contributor, Dr. Fernyhough guides readers through the fascinating new science of autobiographical memory, covering topics such as: navigation, imagination, and the power of sense associations to cue remembering. Pieces of Light brings together science and literature, the ordinary and the extraordinary, to help us better understand our powers of recall and our relationship with the past.

Read the first chapter (PDF)

About the author

Charles Fernyhough is an award-winning writer and psychologist. His books include A Thousand Days of Wonder: A Scientist's Chronicle of His Daughter's Developing Mind and the novels The Auctioneer and A Box of Birds. He has written for the Guardian, the Financial Times, and the Sunday Telegraph; contributes to NPR's Radiolab; blogs for Psychology Today; and is a professor of psychology at Durham University in the United Kingdom.

The judges said:

Our memories of reading this book are exceptionally good ones! It challenges so much of what we think we know about memory. It’s clear, logical and impulsive!