12 Sep 2016

Why do we remember things differently?

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:17 pm on 12 September 2016
Nicky Clayton and Clive Wilkins

Nicky Clayton and Clive Wilkins Photo: supplied

Scientist Nicky Clayton and artist Clive Wilkins approach the concept of memory as a bit of a double act. They first met on the tango floor and now sometimes tango in front of a live audience to illustrate the science of memory.

Clive says while we have the curious notion that our memories are an accurate 'storer' or representation of the past, every time we recall a memory we actually change it to suit our current purpose.

Performance arts such as tango and magic tricks can illustrate and bring to life just how subjective memory is. While performance is often viewed as a collective experience, every person present – including the performers – will take home a different memory of it, depending on their point of view in the auditorium and previous personal experiences.

Nicky Clayton is a Professor of Comparative Cognition at the University of Cambridge and Clive Wilkins is Artist in Residence at Cambridge University's Department of Psychology.  

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