The Neuroscience of Memory

Friday Evening Discourse with Eleanor Maguire

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Travels through space and time

"Life without memory is no life at all ... Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing." Luis Bunuel Portoles 1983

Our memories are our lives, and a fundamental basis of our culture. Collective memoirs of the past both bind society together and shape our potential future. With our brains we can travel through time and space, calling to mind places of significance, evoking images and emotions of past experiences. It's no wonder, then, that we so desperately fear the prospect of memory loss.

Many regions of the brain are involved in memory, but one of the most critical components is the hippocampus, which plays a crucial role in the formation of long-term memories. Damage to the hippocampus can therefore result in significant memory loss.

In this Ri event, Eleanor Maguire draws on evidence from virtual reality, brain imaging and studies of amnesia to show that the consequences of hippocampal damage are even more far-reaching than suspected, robbing us of our past, our imagination and altering our perception of the world.

Maguire also explains how, despite our beliefs, our memories are not actually as accurate as you might think. In fact, they're not really even about the past.

This event is part of our all-women line up for Friday Evening Discourses in 2014 as part of our year long celebration of women in science.

Thumbnail image credit: Gontzal García del Caño on Flickr.


Being Human


Prof Eleanor Maguire
London, UK
Filmed in:
The Theatre

The Refinery / Royal Institution

Collections with this video:
Ri Talks, 2014 Friday Evening Discourses

cc_by-nc-nd License: Creative Commons


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