The brain makes stories, doesn’t merely store facts


The brain does not store facts, ideas, and experiences like a computer does, as a file that is clicked open, always displaying the identical image. It embeds them in networks of perceptions, facts, and thoughts, slightly different combinations of which bubble up each time. And that just retrieved memory does not overwrite the previous one but intertwines and overlaps with it. Nothing is completely lost, but the memory trace is altered and for good.

As scientists put it, using our memories changes our memories.

Benedict Carey, How We Learn (London: Pan, 2015), 20.