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The Seven Myths of Memory

Nicola Clayton (Professor of Comparative Cognition) & Clive Wilkins (Artist-in-Residence), Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge

Nicky Clayton FRS is the Professor of Comparative Cognition in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. She is particularly interested in the processes of thinking with and without words, and comparisons between the cognitive abilities of corvids (members of the crow family) and children. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2010 and is also ScientistinResidence at Rambert (formerly Ballet Rambert), a position she has held since 2011. Clive Wilkins MMC is the Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, a position he has held since 2012. Clive is a fine art painter and writer, and a Member of the Magician’s Circle (MMC). Clive’s paintings have been frequently seen in London Mayfair art galleries. His written work has appeared in print on numerous occasions, most notably in his published work ‘The Creatures in the Night’, a story written and lavishly illustrated by Wilkins in 2008, and most recently ‘The Moustachio Quartet’. Nicky and Clive met on a dance floor… They are co-founders of The Captured Thought, which is an arts and science collaboration that explores mental time travel, the subjective experience of thinking and the nature of creativity.

The Captured Thought website

In this lecture we will explore the complex relationship between experiential memory (episodic memory), and our ability to travel backwards and forwards in the mind’s eye (mental time travel), including a discussion of Nicky’s research on corvids and children, and Clive’s newly published work ‘The Moustachio Quartet’, a series of novels that can be read in any order. We shall incorporate various aspects of science, art and the performing arts to explore the nature of memory and mental time travel: what it is like to have it; what it is like to lose it -- through brain trauma for example; what it is like to have extreme memory skills as shown by recent research on subjects with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory syndrome; and whether some non-human animals share this ability with us. Time travellers return from the past in a manner they will never do from the future. We offer insights concerning the subjective manner in which we differentiate time and space in the mind’s eye. Such considerations highlight why memories are not only about the past, nor are they fixed in the past -- they afford the strategies to create and define the future.

Date Friday, 25 January 2019
Time 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Audience Public
Event Category Sciences
Event Type Seminar
LocationMoot Court Lecture Theatre, Richardson Building, 85 Albany St, Otago Campus.
Contact NameJoanna Ling
Contact Phone+64 3 457 7631

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