Why We Remember by Dr Charan Ranganath

What would you consider your most indelible life experiences—the ones that have made you who you are? What are your most deeply held beliefs? What choices, large and small, good and bad, have led you to this place, to this moment in time? These choices are routinely influenced, and sometimes completely determined, by memory.

It has been shown in many studies that the happiness and satisfaction you gain from the outcomes of your decisions do not come from what you experienced, but rather from what you remember.

To fully appreciate the weird and wonderful ways in which the human brain captures the past, we need to ask the deeper questions of why and how memory shapes our lives.

This book will take you into the depths of your memory processes so you can understand how your remembering self can influence your relationships, choices, and identity, as well as the social world you inhabit. When you recognize the vast reach of the remembering self, you can focus on remembering the things you want to hold on to and use your past to navigate the future

Charan Ranganath

We talk about memory as a record of the past, but here’s a surprising twist: we aren’t supposed to remember everything. In fact, we’re designed to forget.

We talk about memory as a record of the past, but here’s a surprising twist: we aren’t supposed to remember everything. In fact, we’re designed to forget. Over twenty-five years, Charan Ranganath has studied the seemingly selective and unreliable nature of human memory to find that our brains haven’t evolved to keep a comprehensive record of events but to extract the information needed to guide our futures.

Using fascinating case studies and testimonies, Why We Remember unveils the principles behind what and why we forget and shines new light on the silent, pervasive influence of memory on how we learn, heal, and make decisions. By examining the role that attention, intention, imagination, and emotion play in the storing of memories, it provides a vital user’s guide to remembering what we hold most dear.

About the author 

Charan Ranganath is the Director of the Memory and Plasticity Program and a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of California at Davis. He also the Director of the University of California at Davis’ Dynamic Memory Lab, a world-leading research laboratory. Ranganath is a pioneer in the use of brain imaging techniques like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the mechanisms in the brain that allow us to remember past events. His work has been recognised with numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Leverhulme Professorship at the University of Cambridge. He lives in California.

Charan Ranganath

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