The Evolutionary Road to Human Memory

ISBN : 9780198828051

Elisabeth A. Murray; Steven P. Wise; Mary K. L. Baldwin; Kim S. Graham
224 ページ
156 x 156 mm
  • Presents an accessible account of human memory designed to help general readers understand complex scientific concepts and includes engaging and entertaining illustrations, as well as links with well-known books & stories, which help explain the science of human memory
  • Considers human memory in the context of evolution, which is rarely covered in other books, and it counters misleading memes that dominate accounts of memory commonly encountered on the internet and in popular sources such as Wikipedia
  • Presents an exciting new view of human memory, and provides new information about brain evolution and human memory. It should be of interest to students in biology, psychology, and neuroscience, as well as general readers interested in science
  • Explains what makes human memory different from memory in animals and provides an accessible explanation for why humans have unique forms of memory and how they emerged during human evolution

We tend to think about memory in terms of the human experience, neglecting the fact that we can trace a direct line of descent from the earliest vertebrates to modern humans. But the evolutionary history that we share with other vertebrates has left a mark on modern memory, complemented by unique forms of memory that emerged in humans.
This book tells an intriguing story about how evolution shaped human memory. It explains how a series of now-extinct ancestral species adapted to life in their world, in their time and place. As they did, new brain areas appeared, each of which supported an innovative form of memory that helped them gain an advantage in life. Through inheritance and modification across millions of years, these evolutionary developments created several kinds of memory that influence the human mind today. Then, during human evolution, yet another new kind of memory emerged: about ourselves and others. This evolutionary innovation ignited human imagination; empowered us to remember and talk about a personal past; and enabled the sharing of knowledge about our world, our culture, and ourselves. Through these developments, our long journey along the evolutionary road to human memory made it possible for every individual, day upon day, to add new pages to the story of a life: the remarkably rich record of experiences and knowledge that make up a human mind.
Written in an engaging and accessible style, The Evolutionary Road to Human Memory will be enjoyable reading for anyone interested in the human mind.


1: A drive down memory lane
2: The humble heredity of humongous hemispheres
3: Beastly brains: To have and have not
4: Vertebrate voyages: Memories of maps
5: Mammalian memories: Battles in the brain
6: Primates of the past: Arboreal achievements
7: Anthropoid adaptations: Seeing scenes and signs
8: Anthropoid augmentations: To eat or be eaten
9: Human heritage: Specialization for generalization
10: The story of your life: Memories all your own


Elisabeth A. Murray, Head of the Laboratory of Neuropsychology, National Institute of Mental Health., Steven P. Wise, retired neuroscientist, Mary K. L. Baldwin, Assistant Project Scientist, Psychology Department, University of California, Davis, USA, and Kim S. Graham, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, UK
Elisabeth A. (Betsy) Murray was raised with her three brothers in Syracuse, New York. She received a B.S. in Biology from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas. Dr. Murray is an elected Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, of the American Psychological Association, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She currently heads the Laboratory of Neuropsychology at the National Institute of Mental Health.
Steven P. Wise received a B.A. in Biology from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. from Washington University (St. Louis) in Biology (Neural Science). After a brief period of postdoctoral study, he had a 30-year career in neurophysiology at the National Institute of Mental Health, where he headed the Laboratory of Neurophysiology.
Mary K. L. Baldwin received a B.Sc. in Neuroscience and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Vanderbilt University. For the last six years, she has been working as a postdoctoral fellow and assistant project scientist at the Center for Neuroscience and Psychology Department at the University of California, Davis.
Kim S. Graham received a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from Edinburgh University, followed by a Ph.D. from Cambridge University in Psychology. She subsequently worked as a research scientist at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences for 12 years, prior to moving to Cardiff University in 2007, where she held the position of Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience. She was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation, and Enterprise at Cardiff University in 2018.