The Atlantic

Recapping Sherlock Offers a Clue to How Memories Are Stored

When viewers recount an episode, their brains all appear to retrieve the shape of its plot from the same areas.
Source: Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

The first episode of BBC’s Sherlock opens with the roar of machine guns and a bursting bombshell. The screen goes black, then Dr. Watson wakes from the nightmare—a scene from his tour of duty in Afghanistan. When Watson later meets a potential roommate named Sherlock Holmes, Holmes deduces Watson’s troubled past from his haircut and an engraving on his cell phone. The pair move in together, and go on to solve a string of mysterious apparent suicides.

Janice Chen, a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, recently used this episode to investigate how the brain encodes memory. For

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min readPsychology
Dear Therapist: My Husband and I Don't Have Sex Anymore
Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Lori Gottlieb answers questions from readers about their problems, big and small. Have a question? Email her at dear.therapist@theatlantic.com. Dear Therapist, My husband and I have been married for three years. It was l
The Atlantic6 min read
In Defense of Big Little Lies’ Second Season
The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
The Dirty Secret of Mueller’s Testimony? Voters Might Not Care.
Rather than expecting fireworks from the former special counsel’s appearance before Congress, many seem wary of getting their hopes up.