1 The Nature of Memory 2 Memory Encoding 3 Memory Storage 4 Memory Retrieval
5 Forgetting 6 tudy Tips from the Science of Memory S 7 Memory and Health and Wellness
Akir A H A r A guc H i A nd His rE mA rk A bl E mE mory
n July 2, 2005, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) reported that a Japanese mental health counselor, Akira Haraguchi, age 59, recited the digits of pi to the number’s first
83,431 decimal places, from memory, shattering the previous world record (BBC News, 2005). The recitation took several hours; Haraguchi had to start over after the first 3 hours because he lost his place. Imagine memorizing such a list, over 80,000 numbers long, with no apparent pattern or meaning. Surely Haraguchi’s act earns a place in a book of amazing acts of memory. Mnemonists are people who have astonishing memory abilities such as Haraguchi’s, and as we will see, psychologists (including positive psychologists) have learned a good deal about memory from such individuals (Takahashi & others, 2006). Consider that the field of positive psychology stresses not only the very best of human capacities but also the extraordinary aspects of human ability in everyday experience. And daily life presents countless examples that demonstrate the amazing capacity of human memory. Imagine for example that you are at an upscale restaurant with six friends. The server takes your order. After reciting your rather complicated dinner preferences, you note that he is not writing anything down. Now you wait patiently through your friends’ orders and cannot help but wonder, “How can he possibly remember all this?” Surely, you will get blue cheese instead of ranch salad dressing, or a side of carrots instead of green beans, or your pasta will be covered with cheese when you specifically requested no cheese. But when the meal arrives, everything is exactly right. Waiters seem to commit amazing acts of...