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Context is everything : the nature of memory by Susan Engel

By Susan Engel

What are the defining features of reminiscence? What determines what's remembered and what kind of it truly is emphasised? In Context Is every little thing, Susan Engel explores how where, corporation, goal, and situation--the context of the recollection--profoundly impacts the essence and event of a reminiscence.

Beginning with memory's such a lot intimate setting--an alternate among a mom and a small child--Engel explores memory's functionality in such diversified conditions as an ordeal, a remedy consultation, the development of our public personality, and the formula of an autobiography. mixing brilliant anecdotes with the startling findings of reminiscence study, Engel examines the results of context and function for reminiscence, together with one's motivation to recollect and the power or caliber of the reminiscence itself. She strains the trajectory of a reminiscence from the instant of perception within the brain, via its social awareness, and again to the landlord, settling in his or her repertoire of the prior. and she or he appears at reminiscence as fodder for history--what is the root for what we all know and go on?

Beautifully written and full of clean insights on such contested matters as recovered reminiscence and remembered testimony, Context Is Everything is either an informative and interesting learn.

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Extra resources for Context is everything : the nature of memory

Sample text

Our thinking about memory reflects perfectly this seemingly contradictory love of the subjective inner life and dependence on an ability to get at the objective facts that explain the world. WHERE MEMORIES BEGIN 21 22 C HAP T E RON E Autobiographical memory is on the one hand a deeply personal, subjective, and vivid construction of the past, a construction that reveals, creates, and communicates a personal identity. But we constantly use these memories in public transactions. To that extent we expect reliability, accuracy, and objectivity.

The child answers by telling where she got it, not how. Each child has a decision to make at each turn about what to say and what not to say. Then the initiator of the episode does the most interesting piece of remembering work. "). This points to the primacy of what Jerome Bruner has called the subjective nature of autobiographical thinking. What matters about most people's past is what they thought and felt. These feelings and thoughts center around events (a burn, a move to a new town, a baby brother, a marriage, a tornado), but at the crux of a memory are the feelings and thoughts that surround the action.

She signals that she thinks it is worthwhile to tell people about an event like that. And she signals, at some more subtle level, that she wants Maya to remember her birthday in a particular way. Saskia is doing what many parents in many communities do-subtly influencing, perhaps even instructing, her child in the value of certain kinds of recollection and how Maya will reconstruct this particular episode. Take, on the other hand, a story Maya is delighted to repeat again and again to any friendly listener.

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