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Selma director and co-writer Ava DuVernay has crafted a new and important vision of an oft-examined era in our nation’s history. Stanley Wolfson/Library of Congress

Selma blurs line between past and present

Hollywood films that depict American history deeply influence our sense of national identity. Films that portray Civil Rights and Black Freedom history are particularly important. Beyond entertaining moviegoers…
Do you forget a subject’s content as soon as the exam is over? Or forget a language once you’ve stopped using it? It’s not gone, you might just need something to retrieve it. Shutterstock

What happens in the brain when you no longer need the information you’ve learnt?

Throughout our lives we have multitudes of experiences that shape how we then behave in the world. Some of these lessons are learnt rapidly, such as why we shouldn’t put our hand on a hot pan on the stove…
Sharing stories around the dinner table fosters greater self-esteem and resilience in young people. Howard Chalkley

‘Remember when we…?’ Why sharing memories is soul food

Families and friends share memories all the time; “You’ll never guess…”, “How was your day?”, and “Do you remember when…” are rich daily fodder. Sharing memories is not only a good way to debrief and reminisce…
Police often rely on witnesses to finger the right guy, but eyewitnesses are far from perfect. Lineup image via www.shutterstock.com.

Vagaries of memory mean eyewitness testimony isn’t perfect

Twenty eyewitnesses testified before the grand jury investigating the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. None of these accounts is fully consistent with any other. Moreover, eyewitnesses…
The podcast Serial investigates the murder of 18-year-old American student Hae Min Lee 15 years ago. LukaTDB/Shutterstock

Serial: murder, mystery and the science of memory

Can you recall what you were doing last Wednesday between 2.15pm and 2.36pm? Where were you? What did you see? Who did you talk to? How well do you remember those 21 minutes? Now try to recall Wednesday…
Research into gene regulation can treat illness, grow food and understand the brain. WildBear

Epigenetic code cracker: why skin cells are skin cells and not neurons

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science – awarded at Parliament House in Canberra tonight – recognise excellence in science and science teaching. This year, we asked four prizewinners to reflect on their…
What will you remember? Test via Syda Productions/Shutterstock

How tests and wrong answers help us remember what we learn

Teachers give tests to find out what their students know. But tests do a lot more than that and can have a powerful effect on what a student remembers. In a typical research study looking at the links…
The hippocampus has been object of scrutiny since the days of Gray’s Anatomy.

Explainer: what happens in the hippocampus?

This year’s Nobel Prize in medicine recognises work on “cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain.” Those cells are found in the hippocampus. It is just one tiny part of the brain, but this…
Want more working memory? Then you need to expand your brain. Flickr/Elena Gatti

Brain size matters when it comes to remembering

Before we had mobile phones, people had to use their own memory to store long phone numbers (or write them down). But getting those numbers into long-term memory could be a real pain. People had to write…

Drinking problems impact on memory later in life

People with a history of drinking problems in middle age are more than twice as likely to exhibit memory problems in later…

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