Diving for Seahorses: The Science and Secrets of Memory 

Reviewed By  Grasshopper2       October 26, 2018


Author  Hilde Østby , Ylva Østby

Distributor:       Booktopia/Amazon 
ISBN:                 9781742236155
Publisher:         New South Publications
Release Date:   October 2018  

Website:    https://www.newsouthbooks.com.au 

Memory is one of our least understood faculties. The authors have written this book with the aim of clarifying and explaining the research and discoveries that they know of to date. They tell many wonderful stories and the book is a delight to read. One sister is an acknowledged author, while the other is a neuropsychologist. The combination of writing for this topic is successful in conveying the understandings that are current about memory.

In 1564 an Italian doctor was dissecting a brain. Inside the temporal lobe he discovered something that looked a bit like a seahorse. It was about the size of a silkworm but he named it Hippocampus. It was not until 1953 that an understanding of the function of this part of the brain was spotlighted. A man with epilepsy had many seizures a day and his doctor decided that removal of the hippocampus may alleviate some of these. From that point the man lived in the present as he had no long-term memory. The modern theory of memory is partly based on the studies done on this man for the next fifty years.

Many experiments have been conducted on individual’s memory. Different physical conditions and environmental conditions have been explored. Divers in the freezing waters off Norway were tested for memory, and experiments in space have been on going. Even the smallest jelly fish has a type of memory shown by its choice of direction to follow. A songbird put into another nest as a baby will learn a song not used by his own breed.

Many findings suggest that it is only humans who have the ability to look back in time, “Regardless of context.” There are many side issues of interest as well. For example, the sense of smell and taste is closely connected to memory.

The fascinating facts about the research into our memory are written in such a simple and story like way that the information is interesting and easy to access. So, if you were asked about your strongest memories, and your fondest memories, what period of time in your life would that cover?