Memory and Emotion: The Making of Lasting Memories / Edition 1

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Overview

Most of us remember where we were and what we were doing on September 11, 2001. Why do most experiences leave little trace while some -- even terrible ordeals that people wish they could forget -- leave memories that last a lifetime? That is the mystery at the heart of this book.

Drawing on fascinating research and case studies, James McGaugh, a distinguished neuroscientist, reveals that the key to understanding how memories are created may well be understanding how they are lost. He shows that lasting memories are not stored instantly. Why the delay? The author explains how the slow consolidation of memory has important adaptive consequences. It allows physiological processes activated by experiences to regulate the strength of the memory of the experiences. Emotionally arousing experiences induce the release of stress hormones, which act on the brain to influence the consolidation of our memories of recent experience. These findings have important implications for the controversial issues of post--traumatic stress disorder and repressed memory syndrome.

From the prescientific writings of William James to the animal studies of the memory-research pioneers Pavlov, Thorndike, and Tolman, to the latest research of psychologists and neurologists drawing on PET imaging studies of the brain and laboratory experiments involving a variety of drugs, this succinct book provides a wealth of information.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

American Scientist - Joseph E. LeDoux

In Memory and Emotion, James L. McGaugh gives a rich and insightful overview of modern memory research in the context of seminal discoveries of the past. Perhaps no one alive today is better suited to have written such a book.... Although I too work in the field, I learned many things about its history from this a concise, well-written book, which nonexperts will also enjoy.... superb.

Cerebrum - Guy M. McKhann

McGaugh has issued an invitation to adventure for any reader who has wondered about how our brains achieve one of their most extraordinary -- and still mysterious -- feats.

Quarterly Review of Biology - Robert W. Doty

The book provides a succinct and lucid summary of many facts related to memory... [and] will almost inevitably reward readers with facts or points of view not previously considered.

American Scientist
In Memory and Emotion, James L. McGaugh gives a rich and insightful overview of modern memory research in the context of seminal discoveries of the past. Perhaps no one alive today is better suited to have written such a book.... Although I too work in the field, I learned many things about its history from this a concise, well-written book, which nonexperts will also enjoy.... superb.

— Joseph E. LeDoux

The Daily News of Los Angeles

The book blends scientific research with personal anecdotes and even examples from literature for an absorbing read on the mysteries of memory.

Choice

This readable book provides easy access to the dramatic progress that has taken place in the scientific understanding of memory. The writing style is engaging and the material fascinating. Highly recommended.

Cerebrum
McGaugh has issued an invitation to adventure for any reader who has wondered about how our brains achieve one of their most extraordinary — and still mysterious — feats.

— Guy M. McKhann

Quarterly Review of Biology
The book provides a succinct and lucid summary of many facts related to memory... [and] will almost inevitably reward readers with facts or points of view not previously considered.

— Robert W. Doty

Library Journal
We all remember where we were and what we were doing on the morning of 9/11. For those of us who were around at the time, the memories of the Kennedy assassination or Pearl Harbor are still as vivid. Why do these so-called flashbulb memories persist after decades when it's so hard to remember what we had for breakfast yesterday? In this little book, McGaugh, one of the world's leading experts on the neurobiology of memory and emotion (Univ. of California, Irvine), explains in clear and nontechnical language what is known about how long-term memories are formed and how emotional arousal produces stress hormones that enhance the process. He offers a basic history of the research on learning and memory, starting with William James, who first posited the distinction between short- and long-term memory, through Pavlov and his famous dogs, and continuing to current neurochemistry. This is a fine book for academic and larger public libraries; space- and budget-conscious smaller libraries, however, may want to consider Rita Carter's Mapping the Mind and Joseph LeDoux's The Emotional Brain, which cover much of the same territory in less detail.-Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, WA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231120234
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/31/2006
  • Series: Maps of the Mind Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 833,471
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

James L. McGaugh is founding director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory and research professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California, Irvine. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 The Mystery of Memory 1
2 Dogs, Cats, Chimps and Rats: Habits and Memory 10
3 The Short and Long of It 34
4 Coaxing Consolidation: Making Memories Linger 57
5 Memorable Moments 83
6 Meandering and Monumental Memory 115
7 Memorabilia: Summing Up 135
Notes and References 139
Index 157
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