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The Unbearable Lightness of Memory

Date & Time

Friday, June 3, 2011
8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
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The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College

It’s the thought of your childhood home. It’s that comforting aroma you can still smell ten years later. It’s the way you define yourself. It’s your memory. Where is memory stored? How do we recall? Why do we forget? We’ll shine a light on these and many other questions about long-term memory from a molecular, psychological, and emotional perspective. The audience discovered how their long-term memories can be naturally twisted, tweaked, and changed, and how memories of the past could also help us peer into the future. We explored the bumpy road even a youthful mind sometimes travels when experiencing déjà vu, succumbing to suggestibility, or having a “senior” moment.

Related WSF Salon: Manipulating Memory: Progress and Implications

On the Blog: The Biological Mechanism That Gives Life Meaning

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This program was part of The Big, the Small, and the Complex, a Series made possible with the support of The Kavli Prize.


  • Dan Harris

    Dan Harris was named co-anchor of ABC News' weekend edition of Good Morning America in October 2010. Additionally, Harris is a New York-based correspondent for ABC News' broadcasts and platforms, including World News with Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America, Nightline, ABC News Digital and ABC News Radio. More »


  • Daniel L. Schacter

    Psychologist, Author Daniel L. Schacter is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He has published over 350 articles and chapters exploring the relation between conscious and unconscious memory, the nature of memory distortions, how individuals use memory to imagine the future, and the effects of aging on memory. More »
  • Lynn Nadel

    Psychologist Focused on the functions of the hippocampus in memory and spatial cognition, Lynn Nadel’s work has led to significant contributions in the study of stress and memory, sleep and memory, memory reconsolidation, and mental retardation observed in Down syndrome. He has helped promulgate two highly influential theories in cognitive neuroscience: the cognitive map theory of hippocampal function and the multiple trace theory of memory. Nadel’s research has been published in over 175 journal articles, chapters, and books, and has been supported by grants from NIMH, NSF, NICHD, NINDS, and several private foundations. More »
  • Todd Sacktor

    Neurologist, Neuroscientist A 1978 Harvard graduate, Todd Sacktor completed his M.D. at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and his neurology residency at Columbia University, where he began studying the role of the enzyme protein kinase C (PKC) in the short-term memory of Aplysia (marine snails). More »
  • Elizabeth Phelps

    Cognitive Neuroscientist Elizabeth A. Phelps is the director of the Phelps Lab at the New York University Center for Neuroeconomics. Her laboratory has earned widespread acclaim for its groundbreaking research on how the human brain processes emotion, particularly as it relates to learning, memory and decision-making. More »