Chapter seven is titled "constructing and reconstructing our pasts". The chapter aims to explain how our memory works from biological, mechanical and psychological points of view. Most importantly, the chapter targets "the paradox of memory" or in other words why our memory works so well in some situations but works so poorly in others. What I found to be the most interesting is the section on false memories. Particularly, I was very interested in flashbulb memories and how they can decay over time. Everybody seems to have a story about where they were and what they were doing on September eleventh. For example: I was walking down the eighth-grade wing of my school going to music class when a classmate, Evan Hahn, ran down the hall yelling about how the Pentagon had been blown up. I'm nearly positive that's where I was during that event but after reading this section I can't say with 100% certainty because it's clear that our memories sometime fool us. However, I feel like I can also be pretty sure that was the case because of the effect of long term potentiation, a biological process described in the chapter as the "gradual strengthening of the connections among neurons from repetitive stimulation", essentially making us remember things better. I would hypothesize that because the events of September eleventh were the first really big event in most of our lives and because they have played such a crucial role every year in the lives of young people, the memories from that day have been strengthened so much that we remember them fairly accurately at this point.
What do we really remember?
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