Sunday, December 14, 2008

On Memory

Here are a couple of short extracts from chapter 3 (on memory) of my upcoming book 'Embracing the Wide Sky: A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind':

"Remembering something from our past is not at all like pulling facts from our brains, but rather a reconstruction aided by our level of interest, knowledge, and emotion at the time of the event and the subsequent point of recollection. The neurologist Antonio Damasio contends that we remember in this way because there is no single area or location in the brain that contains the memory of a past experience. Rather, different aspects of an experience activate different parts of the brain so that remembering involves a process of pulling these distributed pieces back together. "

(From a later section in the chapter:)

"Elaborative encoding is how experienced actors are able to memorise lengthy scripts with very high levels of accuracy. Rather than attempting to learn their lines by rote, the actors analyse scripts, questioning the underlying meaning of the material in order to better understand the motivations and goals of their characters. Studies confirm that when students are asked to use “all physical, mental, and emotional channels to communicate the meaning of material to another person, either actually present or imagined” their line retention improved significantly, compared to those who read the script for comprehension alone."

For more information about the book, and/or to pre-order, visit


Phil said...

Hi Daniel,

I have really enjoyed following your content on the web, these extracts from the new book have persuaded me to pickup a copy, I think I will in time for xmas and look forward to spending some quiet time reading it after my turkey dinner.

Seasons Greetings

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I think that memory will be especially important to study in your new book.

Anonymous said...

Daniel, you're a beast. You really are. To read and hear about you gives me hope that there might not be a limit to what our beautiful three-pound organ can do.

I want to congratulate you on your progress in this hectic world. I almost forgot you live with Asperger's Syndrome.

What I've pondered is whether or not there's a limit to your ability. Is there a limit to how big numbers can be before you can't comfortably crunch them?

I believe that if you go on tour for your book, you should stop by my school!

Can't wait till your book comes out!

Anonymous said...

Hrm...I already read your last book "Born on Blue Day". Hopefully your new book comes out soon in America!

I enjoy perusing your site every now and then.

Paulene Angela said...

Daniel, when is the release date for the new book?, I keep seeing pre-order, sorry I am like a child waiting for a new toy.
I've previously read that there is no single area or location in the brain that contains the memory of a past experience. I hope you do not read this as coming from a mad woman but I was beginning to have vivid thoughts that our memory could be stored outside of our brain, in energy fields around us, a bit like the web, we make a connection. I am fascinated by the fields of brains, human energy and connections.
My son has dyscalculia, he's now 15so any tips to make new connections will be more than welcome.
Thank you so much for this enlightening.

Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel.

I hope this new book will be released in swedish. I have just read your book born on a blue day. Thank you , I love your book.

Thank you... thank you... thank you

Livia said...

Dear Daniel,

Thank you for your beautiful book, Born on a Blue Day. I have been teaching dyslexic students for 25 years and have had several with Asperger's. I now have a better appreciation for their struggles and strengths.

I hope you know that you do make a huge difference in other people's lives.

I especially appreciate your desire that we celebrate our differences.

I am looking forward to reading your new book.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I have Asperger's but I have some of its characteristics. I loved your book "Born on a Blue Day". It helped me feel better about myself and my challenges so I thank you. I can't wait to read "Embracing the Wide Sky."

Anonymous said...

Daniel, I have just listened to you on the Simon Mayo show and my eyes began to fill with tears. Why? Because you described me (minus the extreme savant skills; I see numbers as shapes and patterns, I love languages and find them relatively easy to learn (French, Spanish. Japanese). I am 47, male and have been diagnosed as "perhaps having mild Asperger's" by a private psychiatrist. I went to her after years of not being able to fit in properly. Your analogy of "socialese" was perfect. I too have almost lost my accent after 47 years. It's weird, having a label put on my condition was a huge relief and made me quite proud that I had managed to "carry" this condition all my life without me or anybody else knowing that it was there. I also went for CBT and my bottom-line was "I don't fit in".
I admire you greatly for your eloquence and communication skills, the more so if they have been acquired rather than being innate.

Unknown said...


Congratulations on being courageous and open-minded enough to share your skill,inner thoughts and triumphs over adversity with the world.

I have watched your documentary and read your book along with some youtube videos and enjoyed them all.

You have come along way.
I look forward to reading your new book.
I can relate to your idea of connecting with numbers and language because I attempt teach it to my Grade 2's. The new ideas in education are reading for meaning and making connections. That's what you describe happens in your natural neural network.

If your ever making a book tour in Japan I would be happy to show you around and welcome you into our school.

I teach at Nagoya International School.

I am going to try and use the techniques in your course and talks to learn Japanese myself.

Thank you very much.

Ricco DiCarlantonio