Author

Douwe Draaisma

Douwe Draaisma (b. 1953) is professor of the history of psychology and author of many works about the memory. His best-known book, on autobiographical memory, translated into twenty-five languages, is Why Life Speeds Up As You Get Older, (2001). He has also written Disturbances of the Mind (2006) and The Nostalgia Factory (2008) in which he compassionately describes the ageing memory. In Forgetting (2010) he looked at the phenomenon of forgetting, and in The Dream Weaver (2013) he examined our nocturnal longings and fears.

Metaphors of Memory

Metaphors of Memory

A History of Ideas on the Mind

(Historische Uitgeverij, 1995, 270 pages)

How has mankind imagined memory over the course of history? Plato saw it as a wax tablet, in the Middle Ages it was seen as a book, the eighteenth century considered the automaton a fitting image, in the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century photography, the gramophone and film competed for the honours, and contemporary psychologists now like to compare memory to a computer file or a hologram.

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Why Life Speeds Up with Age

Why Life Speeds Up with Age

On the autobiographical memory

(Historische Uitgeverij, 2001, 256 pages)

Autobiographical memory is not a common topic of psychology, which feels ill at ease with a subject not readily open to scientific generalisation. But for that very reason it is highly popular with the general public. The associated problems are both concrete and intriguing. Where does the sense of deja vu come from? Why do we keep blushing years after a past humiliation? Why does life seem to pass more quickly with age, and why do dying people sometimes see scenes from their youth flash by in their mind’s eye? Each of us has wondered about these questions at some time, but psychologists prefer to steer clear of them for fear of being thought quacks.

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Disturbances of the Mind

Disturbances of the Mind

(Historische Uitgeverij, 2006, 326 pages)

Parkinson’s, Korsakoff’s, Alzheimer’s and Asperger’s are syndromes, named after the physicians who discovered them. In Disturbances of the Mind Douwe Draaisma takes a closer look at a number of these ‘eponyms’ in a series of brilliant portraits, which combine literary elegance with professional expertise.

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The Nostalgia Factory

The Nostalgia Factory

Memory, time and ageing

(Historische Uitgeverij, 2008, 142 pages)

You can no longer call to mind the name of a man you have known for thirty years. You walk into a room and forget what you came for. What was the name of that famous film you’ve watched so often? These are common experiences, and as we grow older we tend to worry more and more about such lapses. Is our memory letting us down? Are these the early signs of dementia, the beginning of the end?

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Oblivion

Oblivion

(Historische Uitgeverij, 2010, 272 pages)

Following his books about the puzzling logic of memory, Douwe Draaisma turns to the miracle of forgetting. He claims that far from being a defect, forgetting is one of memory’s crucial capacities, blended through it like yeast through dough. Our earliest recollections make us starkly aware of the forgotten years that went before. We can retain information only because of our ability to erase it selectively.

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The Dream Weaver

The Dream Weaver

(Historische Uitgeverij, 2013, 240 pages)

You suddenly realize you have no clothes on, although everyone else has; you’re overcome with embarrassment, yet no one seems to notice your nakedness. It’s a common experience, and a huge relief when you realize it’s only a dream.

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Half-Truths

Half-Truths

Unless my memory fails me

(Historische Uitgeverij, 2016, 176 pages)

Most of us think we know exactly where we were and what we were doing when the Twin Towers fell, when Lady Di died, when John Kennedy was murdered. But these sorts of memories are rarely right: they’re formed later in life, and then twisted.

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Translations

Website

http://www.douwedraaisma.nl