Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Source amnesia and political rumors

Sam and I didn't know whether to be disappointed or impressed when we saw a piece in the New York Times Sunday Magazine this week on the way that a particular problem with human memory - called source amnesia - helps political rumors to spread. We had been considering writing an op-ed on this topic ourselves, but Farhad Manjoo beat us to it. We all experience source amnesia, the tendency to forget where we heard something, and the problem gets worse as we get older. An unfortunate side effect is that repeating myths or rumors, even to debunk them, tends to plant the false idea even more firmly in people's heads. People remember that they've heard the idea, but don't remember that they've heard it was false. Such confusion may have led to John McCain's recent loose talk about the cause of autism - another myth we address in our book.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

We're coming to Princeton, New York, and Washington...

The first six weeks after a book launches are said to be the busiest for authors. Luckily there are two of us! Yesterday I was in Manhattan recording the XM Satellite program Oprah And Friends with Mehmet and Lisa Oz. Those two are great fun. It's a pleasure to be interviewed by Dr. Mehmet Oz, whose You: The Owner's Manual was in many ways a model to us as we were writing our book. The show will air in a few weeks; I'll post the date when I know it. Update: Our air date is Monday, April 7. Tune in to XM 156!

Coming up, Sandra and I have a few events in Princeton, New York, and Washington DC:

This afternoon at 5:30pm, I'll be appearing in Princeton at the new Labyrinth Books.
I'll talk about the book, of course, and there will be a reception afterward.

On Monday evening (March 10th) we're both coming to the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. On stage with us is Grammy award-winning Broadway and film director Julie Taymor, whose movie Across The Universe came out last year. This should be fun, and I imagine some unexpected topics will come up. It's part of the Brainwave series, running through June.

On Tuesday March 11th we're both speaking at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. That one's a straight-up lecture, mythbusting and all. We're hoping for lots of discussion.

Come meet us at one of these events!