Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Dan Schacter, in William James Hall at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)!
Dr. Schacter introduces himself modestly in the clip above, but he is one of the most influential and renowned memory researchers in the world. He is the William R. Keenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, a winner of the Presidential citation from APA, a William James Fellow from APS, among many other honors and recognitions.
For those wishing greater familiarity with his work, Dr. Schacter has highly valued contributions to our understanding of memory and related mental processes spanning the last 40 years. Consider that he published his first book as an early graduate student (a biographical work about Richard Semon), and has to his credit hundreds of articles, chapters, and books and many with thousands of citations in the literature. A few wonderful examples are provided below:
- Schacter, D. L. (1987). Implicit memory: History and current status. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 13(3), 501-518.
- Schacter, D. L. (1992). Priming and multiple memory systems: Perceptual mechanisms of implicit memory. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 4(3), 244-256.
- Schacter, D. L. (2002). The seven sins of memory: How the mind forgets and remembers. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
- Schacter, D. L. (2008). Searching for memory: The brain, the mind, and the past. Basic Books.
- Schacter, D. L. (2012). Forgotten ideas, neglected pioneers: Richard Semon and the story of memory. Psychology Press.
- Schacter, D. L., & Addis, D. R. (2007). The cognitive neuroscience of constructive memory: remembering the past and imagining the future. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 362(1481), 773-786.
- Tulving, E., & Schacter, D. L. (1990). Priming and human memory systems. Science, 247(4940), 301-306.
His work and life are fascinating and I will be commenting about them in my next few posts. For today, I have posted an audio clip in which Dr. Schacter traced his graduate work with Endel Tulving in Toronto (and working with amnesic patient: “KC”) to the well known Seven Sins of memory theorization to the more recent Future of Memory theorization (with Dr. Donna Addis). As is often the case in the research, a seemingly small observation from a research study spawned significant thought and advancement. In this case, a question support new ideas for Tulving and a reconceptualization of the memory system for Schacter.
I invite you to enjoy a few minutes of Dr. Schacter describing this finding and linking these various parts of his career:
Hope you enjoy Dr. Schacter’s story of the development of these ideas, and look forward to sharing more from his lab with you!
(Photo of Dr. Schacter with a passel of awards and honors arrayed across his desk and walls)
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