What's in a Memory?

Aug 27, 2015

What if a handful of your memories are fake? It’s likely that at least a few of them are.

“Much of our memory is reconstructive. It’s not like we’re pulling a book off a bookshelf. We’re creating it as we go,” explains Dr. Steven Anderson, Director of the Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Laboratory in the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa. 

He says that while you can get better at remembering things with conscious effort, sometimes what we “remember” is what other people have told us about something that happened.  

During this Talk of Iowa conversation, host Charity Nebbe talks with Anderson and Jodie Plumert, Professor and Chair of the University of Iowa’s Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences, about memory through our lifetime.

Both agree that the single most important thing you can do to keep you memory sharp is to exercise regularly.

“Everything that we’ve known that is good for our heart for decades is good for your brain,” Anderson says. “Getting regular physical exercise delivers that nutrient-rich, oxygen-rich blood to the brain. Another thing that’s huge is cognitive challenges. Your brain thrives on new learning.”