A new consensus is emerging among cognitive scientists: rather than possessing fixed, unchanging memories, we create recollections anew each time we are called upon to remember. According to psychologist Charles Fernyhough, remembering is an act of narrative imagination as much as it is the product of a neurological process. In Pieces of Light, he eloquently illuminates this theory through a series of personal stories—a visit to his college campus to see if his memories hold; an interview with his ninety-three-year-old grandmother; conversations with those whose memories are affected by brain damage and trauma—each illustrating memory’s complex synergy of cognitive and neurological functions.
Fernyhough guides readers through the fascinating new science of autobiographical memory, covering topics including navigation, imagination, and the power of sense associations to cue remembering. Exquisitely written and meticulously researched, Pieces of Light brings together science and literature, the ordinary and the extraordinary, to help us better understand our powers of recall and our relationship with the past.