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Daniel Schacter: The Seven Sins of Memory


Daniel L. Schacter is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. Schacter received his B.A. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1974 and received his PhD from the University of Toronto in 1981, where he studied with Endel Tulving. Schacter then served as director of the Unit for Memory Disorders at the University of Toronto for the next six years. He joined the psychology department at the University of Arizona in 1987 as an Associate Professor, with promotion to Professor in 1989. In 1991, he was appointed Professor at Harvard University, and served as Chair of the department from 1995-2005.

Schacter’s research explores the relation between conscious and unconscious forms of memory, the nature of memory distortions, how individuals use memory to imagine possible future events, enhancement of online learning, as well as the effects of aging on memory. Schacter and his many collaborators have published over 350 articles and chapters on these and related topics. He has received a number of awards for his research, including the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in Human Learning and Cognition from the American Psychological Association (1990), the Troland Award (1991) and Award for Scientific Reviewing (2005) from National Academy of Sciences, a Guggenheim Fellowship (1998), a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Aging (2000-2012) the Howard Crosby Warren Medal (2009) from the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions from the American Psychological Association (2012). Schacter also received Harvard’s Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize (1997). He has been elected to the Society of Experimental Psychologists (1994), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1996), and National Academy of Sciences (2013).

Many of Schacter’s ideas and findings are summarized in his 1996 book, Searching for Memory, and his 2001 book, The Seven Sins of Memory, both named as New Times Notable Books of the Year, and winners of the APA’s William James Book Award. More recently, he has co-authored an introductory text, Psychology (2nd Ed., 2011), with Daniel T. Gilbert and Daniel M. Wegner.

[Video and text source: The Brainwaves Video Anthology You Tube channel]