The Forgetting Machine: Memory, Perception, and the “Jennifer Aniston Neuron”

By Rodrigo Quian Quiroga
Read by Dan Woren

4.21 Hours 10/03/2017 unabridged
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If we lose our memories, are we still ourselves? Is identity merely a collection of electrical impulses? What separates us from animals, or from computers? From Plato to Westworld, these questions have fascinated and befuddled philosophers, artists, and scientists for centuries. In The Forgetting Machine, neuroscientist Rodrigo Quiroga explains how the mechanics of memory illuminates these discussions, with implications for everything from understanding Alzheimer’s disease to the technology of artificial intelligence. You’ll also learn about the research behind what Quiroga coined “Jennifer Aniston Neurons”—cells in the human brain that are responsible for representing specific concepts, such as recognizing a certain celebrity’s face. The discovery of these neurons opens new windows into the workings of human memory. In this accessible, fascinating look at the science of remembering, you’ll learn how we turn perceptions into memories, how language shapes our experiences, and the crucial role forgetting plays in human recollection. You’ll see how electricity, chemistry, and abstraction combine to form something more than the human brain—the human mind. And you’ll gain surprising insight into what our brains can tell us about who we are. The Forgetting Machine takes us on a journey through science and science fiction, philosophy and identity, using what we know about how we remember (and forget) to explore the very roots of what makes us human.

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Summary

Summary

If we lose our memories, are we still ourselves? Is identity merely a collection of electrical impulses? What separates us from animals, or from computers?

From Plato to Westworld, these questions have fascinated and befuddled philosophers, artists, and scientists for centuries. In The Forgetting Machine, neuroscientist Rodrigo Quiroga explains how the mechanics of memory illuminates these discussions, with implications for everything from understanding Alzheimer’s disease to the technology of artificial intelligence.

You’ll also learn about the research behind what Quiroga coined “Jennifer Aniston Neurons”—cells in the human brain that are responsible for representing specific concepts, such as recognizing a certain celebrity’s face. The discovery of these neurons opens new windows into the workings of human memory.

In this accessible, fascinating look at the science of remembering, you’ll learn how we turn perceptions into memories, how language shapes our experiences, and the crucial role forgetting plays in human recollection. You’ll see how electricity, chemistry, and abstraction combine to form something more than the human brain—the human mind. And you’ll gain surprising insight into what our brains can tell us about who we are.

The Forgetting Machine takes us on a journey through science and science fiction, philosophy and identity, using what we know about how we remember (and forget) to explore the very roots of what makes us human.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“A fascinating and memorable journey into the riddles of human perception and memory.” Yadin Dudai, professor, Weizmann Institute of Science and New York University

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Rodrigo Quian Quiroga

Rodrigo Quian Quiroga is a neuroscientist at the University of Leicester UK. He holds a research chair and is the director of the Center for Systems Neuroscience and the head of the bioengineering at the University of Leicester. In 2010, he obtained the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award. His main research interest is on the study of the principles of visual perception and memory. Together with colleagues at Caltech and UCLA, he discovered what has been named “concept cells” or “Jennifer Aniston neurons”―neurons in the human brain that play a key role in memory formation.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/Psychology
Runtime: 4.21
Audience: Adult
Language: English