The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers

by Daniel L. Schacter

A groundbreaking work by one of the world's foremost memory experts, THE SEVEN SINS OF MEMORY offers the first framework that explains common memory vices -- and their surprising virtues. In this intriguing study, Daniel L. Schacter explores the memory miscues that occur in everyday life: absent-mindedness, transience, blocking, misattribution, suggestibility, bias, and persistence. Schacter illustrates these concepts with vivid examples -- case studies, literary excerpts, experimental evidence, and accounts of highly visible news events such as the O.J. Simpson verdict, Bill Clinton's grand jury testimony, and the search for the Oklahoma City bomber. He also delves into striking new scientific research, giving us a glimpse of the fascinating neurology of memory. Together, the stories and the scientific results provide a new look at our brains and at what we more generally think of as our minds.

Winner of the William James Book Award

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780618219193
  • ISBN-10: 0618219196
  • Pages: 288
  • Publication Date: 05/07/2002
  • Carton Quantity: 24

About the book

A groundbreaking work by one of the world's foremost psychologists that delves into the complex behavior of memory.


In this fascinating study, Daniel L. Schacter explores instances of what we would consider memory failure—absent-mindedness, transience, blocking, misattribution, suggestibility, bias, and persistence—and suggests instead that these miscues are actually indications that memory is functioning as designed. Drawing from vivid scientific research and creative literature, as well as high-profile events in which memory has figured significantly (Bill Clinton's grand jury testimony, for instance), The Seven Sins of Memory provides a more nuanced understanding of how memory and the mind influence each other and shape our lives.

About the author
Daniel L. Schacter

DANIEL L. SCHACTER is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology in the Psychology Department of Harvard University. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and received numerous awards for his research, including the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Psychology from the American Psychological Association and the Fred Kavli Distinguished Career Contributions Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. He is the author of many books on memory and neuropsychology, including Searching for Memory, which received praise as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and which won the American Psychological Association's William James Book Award, as did The Sevens Sins of Memory. Schacter lives in Newton, Massachusetts.