Why We Can't Trust Our Memories

Brain researcher Elizabeth Phelps wants to understand why you think your memory's better than it actually is.

Early in her restless, inventive career, Elizabeth Phelps was trying to understand the deep structure of memory by showing word lists to people with amnesia — patients who’d survived a brain injury or stroke but lost the ability to remember. When she’d talk about her work with friends, somebody would eventually ask: What do word lists really have to do with memories — the vivid images and intense emotions that flood the mind? It’s a good question. Why do you remembe...

The full text of this article is available to Discover Magazine subscribers only.

Subscribe and get 10 issues packed with:
  • The latest news, theories and developments in the world of science
  • Compelling stories and breakthroughs in health, medicine and the mind
  • Environmental issues and their relevance to daily life
  • Cutting-edge technology and its impact on our future
Already a subscriber? Register now!
Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on DiscoverMagazine.com, please log in.

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collapse bottom bar

Log in to your account

Email address:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it emailed to you.

Not registered yet?

Register now for FREE. It takes only a few seconds to complete. Register now »