memory

Not Exactly Rocket Science

Tag archives for memory

The latest issue of Eureka, the Times’s monthly science supplement, is out today. I’ve been incredibly supportive of the venture and it’s great to see that a major national newspaper is increasing its science coverage, rather than cutting back on it. For this issue (the fourth, I think), I’ve written a piece on fear and…

Bringing an old memory back to mind would, you might think, strengthen it. But not so – when memories are recalled, they enter a surprisingly vulnerable state, when they can be reshaped or even rewritten. It takes a while for the memory to become strengthened anew, through a process called reconsolidation. Memories aren’t just written…

When we think of memory aids, we consider repeating what we’ve learned, using clever mnemonics, or breaking information down into bite-size chunks. But one of the best memory aids we have available to us is something we all do on a daily basis – sleep. Studies have found that sleep enhances our memories of facts…

Our mind often seems like a gigantic library, where memories are written on parchment and stored away on shelves. Once filed, they remain steadfast and inviolate over time, although some may eventually become dusty and forgotten. Now, Reut Shema, Yadin Dudai and colleagues from the Weizmann Institute of Science have found evidence that challenges this…

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about propranolol, a drug that can erase the emotion of fearful memories.  When volunteers take the drug before recalling a scary memory about a spider, it dulled the emotional sting of future recollections. It’s not, however, a mind-wiping pill in the traditional science-fiction sense, and it can’t erase…

The mainstream media are just queuing up to fail in their reporting of the propranolol story from a couple of days ago. To reiterate: Propranolol is commonly used to treat high blood pressure and prevent migraines in children. But Merel Kindt and colleagues from the University of Amsterdam have found that it can do much…

The wiping of unwanted memories is a common staple of science-fiction and if you believe this weekend’s headlines, you might think that the prospect has just become a reality. The Press Association said that a “drug helps erase fearful memories“, while the ever-hyperbolic Daily Mail talked about a “pill to erase bad memories“. The comparisons…

The transformation from caterpillar to butterfly or moth is one of the most beguiling in the animal world. Both larva and adult are just stages in the life of a single animal, but are nonetheless completely separated in appearance, habitat and behaviour. The imagery associated with such change is inescapably beautiful, and as entrancing to…