Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £16.39

Buy Now for £16.39

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

If we lose our memories, are we still ourselves? Is identity merely a collection of electrical impulses? What separates us from animals, or from computers?

From Plato to Westworld, these questions have fascinated and befuddled philosophers, artists, and scientists for centuries. In The Forgetting Machine, neuroscientist Rodrigo Quiroga explains how the mechanics of memory illuminates these discussions, with implications for everything from understanding Alzheimer's disease to the technology of artificial intelligence.

You'll also learn about the research behind what Quiroga coined "Jennifer Aniston neurons" - cells in the human brain that are responsible for representing specific concepts, such as recognizing a certain celebrity's face. The discovery of these neurons opens new windows into the workings of human memory.

In this accessible, fascinating look at the science of remembering, you'll learn how we turn perceptions into memories, how language shapes our experiences, and the crucial role forgetting plays in human recollection. You'll see how electricity, chemistry, and abstraction combine to form something more than the human brain - the human mind. And you'll gain surprising insight into what our brains can tell us about who we are.

The Forgetting Machine takes us on a journey through science and science fiction, philosophy, and identity, using what we know about how we remember (and forget) to explore the very roots of what makes us human.

©2017 Rodrigo Quian Quiroga (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Forgetting Machine

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    21
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    15
  • 4 Stars
    22
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    15
  • 4 Stars
    16
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not for me.

As a neuroscientist myself, I found nothing new in this title. The book obviously wasn't writtenfor someone who already has knowledge of this area. I bought this title hoping I was get a new or different perspective on this subject to the one I had already. I hope people new to this subject get something from it.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

worth listening

Very good narator.
The book is concise, focused on the subject. It catched/surprized me in some moments.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rob & Nikki
  • Rob & Nikki
  • 03-12-20

needs a trigger warning

needs a trigger warning, there is a detailed scene about sexual violence. Do not listen if you have ptsd

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Silvio Tannert
  • Silvio Tannert
  • 30-09-20

It totally worth the time

From all books I have listen to, this has been one of the most well achieved. The narrative is great and you easily engage with the story. In general, it’s well structured and the autor makes his point clear enough. Although, sometimes I felt like listening to a summary of issues regarding the history of memory, it has its reasons.
I would have appreciated if the author would have extended a bit more in the actual topic and explanation of his main topics (e.g., concept neurons). Unfortunately, it’s very loose and just comes at the last chapter of the book.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-02-21

A quick and informative read/listen

This was a fascinating listen about neurology and the human brain. It explores the question what is consciousnesses in an intelligent and interesting way. It is never dull and before you know you have finished the book with a sense of being more enlightened.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for dumbtex
  • dumbtex
  • 22-05-21

Good car listen but i wouldn’t recommend listening for anything else

It’s a very good book overall I really enjoyed the balance between technical details in describing processes and the bigger ideas of what that function does. For me I had 2 major takeaways (spoilers but doesn’t ruin anything) 1 is that the mind has some very unclear elements that define consciousness and we have yet to figure a way to test this, and 2 is that there is a balance between memory and critical thinking. The book is rather intense I had to mostly listen in the car because listening at work was a little too distracting, but I’m a bad multitasker so maybe you’ll find different. Definitely would recommend for those interested In the mind and memory in general.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for KellysHero718
  • KellysHero718
  • 06-05-22

I Forgot To Remember To Forget

This is a well-reasoned and we’ll-documented argument. Right or wrong, I don’t know, but the information is presented with scientific authority while remaining highly accessible, often relying on cultural literacy, memories of movies and music and Jennifer Aniston. An excellent resource.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for GLYNN A
  • GLYNN A
  • 27-04-22

Why the mind is nothing like a computer

A superb book. Clear, accessible and interesting without being dumbed down. Complemented by excellent narration.
You'll learn something new and be entertained and impressed. The writing is elegant, succinct and well organized. I haven't come across a book where historical quotations have been so appropriate and helpful.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for See Reverse
  • See Reverse
  • 03-04-22

The Bandwidth of Our Own Reality

An introduction into current ideas and research on our senses, and human memory. We live in a world of "retina" screens, the Internet, and Virtual Reality, and in "The Forgetting Machine" the author delves into what this all means for our minds and brains.

From various calculations of the bandwidth and resolution of our eyes, to the storage capacity of our neurons, this book highlights what it means to be human. The illusions our minds create for us to allow us to see the world smoothly, and in high definition, are significant. I came away from this short introduction with a greater appreciation for how well the magicians understand our limitations, and how children really do see the world more for what it is than adults. Well worth the short listen, but "Being You: A New Science of Consciousness" by Anil Seth digs deeper into these ideas if you would like more background.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jeff Griffiths
  • Jeff Griffiths
  • 21-01-22

Get to know yourself

What does "I am so-and-so" really mean and how do we know if it's true? On what do we base this identiy? Listen to this book to discover what makes us think we have the answers.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for 2325sr
  • 2325sr
  • 14-01-22

Great explanation on how human memory works

Really enjoyed this book as an excellent explanation of how memory works and doesn't work at times.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Elijah
  • Elijah
  • 22-11-21

So informative!

Loved this book so much! Gave so much helpful information and helped me understand why we forget things.