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The Seven Sins of Memory

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The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers is a book (ISBN 0618219196) by Daniel Schacter, former chair of Harvard University's Psychology Department and a leading memory researcher. The premise of the book is that the seven sins of memory are similar to the original biblical Seven deadly sins, and that if you try to avoid committing these sins, it will help to improve your ability to remember. He also argues that these features of human memory are not necessarily bad, and that they actually serve a useful purpose in memory. For instance, persistence is one of the sins of memory that can lead to things like post traumatic stress syndrome. but persistence is also necessary for long-term memory.

Three sins of forgetting:

  • Absent-mindedness - Our mind is too distracted to encode information.
  • Transience - Memories are fleeting, for they decay over time.
  • Blocking - Inability to access previously stored information. The 'tip of the tongue' phenomenon.

Three sins of distortion:

One sin of intrusion:

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