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The Talks at Google podcast - where great minds meet.

Talks at Google brings the world’s most influential thinkers, creators, makers, and doers all to one place. Every episode is taken from a video that can be seen at

Apr 9, 2024

Professor of psychology and neuroscience Charan Ranganath visits Google to discuss his book "Why We Remember: Unlocking Memory's Power to Hold on to What Matters." The book reveals the powerful role memory plays in nearly every aspect of our lives, from recalling faces and names, to learning, decision-making, trauma, and healing.

A new understanding of memory is emerging from the latest scientific research. Memory is not quite the repository of the past that we can tap into as we wish. It is actually a highly transformative power, active at all times, that shapes our present in often secretive and sometimes destructive ways.

We are in many ways creatures of memory and only when we understand the mechanisms of memory can we truly understand ourselves and our motivations, and use our knowledge of those mechanisms to our advantage while avoiding their pitfalls. Why We Remember teaches the principles behind memory storage and retrieval, and explains how our memories are always changing. It reveals how these processes affect what we think we know about ourselves and how we make decisions.

Memory is designed to be selective, meaningful, and malleable. When we understand how memory works, we can cut through the clutter and remember the things we want to remember. We can not only remember more—we can remember better.

Visit to watch the video.