Memory and Stories: Truth, Tales and Understanding

by Mary K. Clark

We all have them – personal stories.  Whether we are performing, sharing anecdotes, family stories or heartfelt remembrances, we often tell our stories as if they were absolutely the truth and nothing but the truth. And, because we feel that way ourselves, our stories are often believed. Perhaps our stories are always being constructed. If so, can we really trust our memories?  How do our emotions affect our storytelling? What does this mean for the storyteller and for the listener?

Gus Raz interviewed Scott Fraser, a forensic psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel-winning psychologist and, science writer, Joshura Foer in an NPR TED Radio Hour entitled Memory Games:

 Memory is malleable, dynamic and elusive. When we tap into our memories, where’s the line between fact and fiction? How does our memory play tricks on us, and how can we train it to be more accurate? In this hour, TED speakers discuss how a nimble memory can improve your life, and how a frail one might ruin someone else’s.

This NPR TED Radio hour is rich and juicy and sure to bring up questions and add understanding to your personal or professional storytelling. You may wish  to listen to the whole hour or listen to the individual interviews which are between 13 to 19 minutes in length.

I hope you enjoy the interviews and, be warned, you may never quite look at stories the same way again – even your own!

I’d love to learn about any stories, anecdotes or other resources you may wish to share on this topic.

– Mary

Note 1:
If you have an interest in mindfulness and priming see The Placebo Effect, Language and Story

Note 2:
The Guardian has a whole page devoted to memory see: Explore the power of your memory, with our cast of experts. Thanks to storyteller, Richard Martin for sharing this on the Storytell Listserv.

©Copyright 6/23/2013  by Mary K. Clark.  All Rights Reserved.



Edited 6/23/2013 – edited links.
Edited 6/24/2013 – added The Guardian’s memory page.



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