William Hirst

William Hirst is a professor of psychology at The New School for Social Research. He received his graduate training at Cornell University and taught at Rockefeller University, Princeton University, and Cornell University before coming to The New School. Mr. Hirst has edited four volumes and published more than 75 articles on topics including attention, amnesia, and social aspects of memory, including recent work on collective memory and memory relating to September 11.

Guest Appearances

November 15, 2015

Let’s talk about ‘Inception’: Christopher Nolan’s least realistic movie up until ‘Interstellar’. While commercially and critically loved, you got the sense watching it that this was something to suspend your disbelief for; that this world of shared dreaming, dreams within dreams and implanting false memories surely had no basis in fact or science. But what if we told you Nolan’s half-baked ideas about the fallibility of memory were actually close to how the brain works? What if planting false memories in people was actually the most realistic part about ‘Inception’?

On this bonus episode of The Cracked Podcast, Jack O’Brien is joined by Steve Ramirez, a PhD student at MIT who actually incepted mice! With laser beams! They talk about that experiment and how it will shape the future of treating mental disorders. Jack is then joined by Dr. William Hirst, Professor of Psychology at the New School for Social Research, to talk about how utterly unreliable our memories are, even when trying to recall the most important moments of our lives.