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Neuroscientists have discovered that some people can remember the details of events from 20 years ago almost as well as those experienced yesterday
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40 Scientific American, February 2014 Photograph by Tktk Tktk
sad0214McGa3p.indd 40 12/17/13 6:12 PM
February 2014, Scientifi 41Illustration by Kyle Bean
Neuroscientists have discovered
that some people can remember
the details of events from 20 years ago
almost as well as those experienced yesterday
By James L. McGaugh and Aurora LePort
Some 14 years ago an individual claim-
ing to possess extraordinary recall of
the distant past came forward.
Publicity about the case brought out
hundreds of others who made similar as -
sertions about their ability to remember.
Testing confi rmed that a few dozen
among this group can recite details of a
specifi c date decades later.
Neuroscientists are now exploring the
biological underpinnings of “highly su-
perior autobiographical memory.”
James L. McGaugh is a research professor special izing
in the neurobiology of learning and memory at the
University of California, Irvine. His studies have focused
on the relation between memory and emotion.
Aurora LePort is a graduate student in neuroscience
at the University of California, Irvine, who has performed
psychological and physiological studies on individuals
with superior memory.
is a research professor special izing
University of California, Irvine. His studies have focused
on the relation between memory and emotion.
is a graduate student in neuroscience
at the University of California, Irvine, who has performed
psychological and physiological studies on individuals
sad0214McGa3p.indd 41 12/17/13 6:12 PM
42 Scientific American, February 2014
We were skeptical of Price’s assertions but intrigued enough to
invite her to our research center at the University of California,
Irvine, where we study the neurobiological bases of learning
and memory. On June 24, a few months later, Price came for an
appointment. It was a Saturday. We are certain about the date
because her visit was recorded on a laboratory calendar. Price,
we quickly discovered, remembers such facts without any need
for a calendar.
We were cautious in that first interview and looked for some
objective means of evaluating her claims. There was no way to
immediately check what she told us about her own past. Yet we
could query her about public events that occurred during her
lifetime. We had a copy of a then just published book, 20th Cen-
tury Day by Day, by Sharon Lucas, that contained articles of dai-
ly news events going back 100 years.
We started with the mid-1970s, when Price first recognized
that her memory might be unusual. When we asked what hap-
pened on August 16, 1977, she quickly replied that it was the day
Elvis Presley died. When we queried June 6, 1978, she told us it
was the day that California’s Proposition 13, limiting the state’s
property tax rates, passed. May 25, 1979, was the day a plane
crashed in Chicago. May 3, 1991, was the last episode of Dallas.
And so on. Price answered correctly every time.
Then we reversed the process and asked Price to name the
date for a particular event: When was J.R. shot? When did police
beat Rodney King? Again, each time Price came up immediately
with the right answer. During our testing, she identified an
error in the book of milestones for the date of the start of the
Iran hostage crisis at the U.S. embassy in 1979.
Although many of the dates we tested for were public events
that had received considerable media attention, Price also excelled
in remembering less significant occurrences. She correctly recalled
that Bing Crosby died at a golf course in Spain on October 14,
1977. When asked how she knew, she replied that when she was
11 years old, she heard the announcement of Crosby’s death
over the car radio when her mother was driving her to a soccer
game. In one interview, she described
membering dates visually: “When
I hear a date, I see it, the day, the
month, the year.”
In a subsequent interview in March
2003, she recalled, with one error, the
dates of the previous 23 Easters and
told us what she did on each of those
dates—and she is Jewish. We were able
to verify many of her claims by check-
ing a diary that she kept for many years. For some of her personal
memories, we consulted our own records documenting the testing
of her memory. At a subsequent interview, she correctly remem-
bered the dates for all of our previous interviews and the details
about the questions we had asked about her recall of past events.
After we were convinced that Price’s mental diarylike abilities
were real, we wanted to know whether this skill extended to other
aspects of remembering. We determined that she does not have a
“photographic memory”—that is, she does not recall the minutest
details of daily experience. She has trouble remembering which of
her keys go into which lock. She makes lists of things she needs to
do. She also does not excel in memorizing facts by rote.
Price does have immediate recall of the day of the week for
any date in her life after she was about 11 years old. Her recall is
distinguished by highly organized, readily accessible and accu-
rate memories of most of the days of her life from preadoles-
cence onward. Until Price walked into our lab, this particular
type of memory, which we call highly superior autobiographical
memory (HSAM), had never been studied. We are now delving
further into the psychological and biological roots of HSAM in
the hope that an understanding of these processes may provide
more general in
sight into the processes underlying memory.
Is superIor MeMory CoMMon?
  , we referred to Jill Price with the fictitious ini-
tials “A.J.” because she did not wish to be identified. After pub-
lishing a paper on her extraordinary memory in 2006, our work
gained national attention. We then appeared on National Public
Radio on April 19 and 20, 2006. Price, who had decided to come
out of the shadows, subsequently published a memoir, The Wom-
an Who Can’t Forget, in 2008.
Following that publicity, other individuals who thought that
they have, or might have, similar memory abilities contacted us.
After putting them through the rigors of testing, we identified five
additional HSAM subjects. On December 19, 2010, these five indi-
viduals appeared on 60 Minutes. Within hours of the episode’s air-
PAGE 40: MITCH PAYNE (photograph)
In the late sprIng of 2000 one of us (McGaugh)
received an e-mail message from a woman named
Jill Price who was trying to cope with the burdens
inicted by her own memory. It read, in part:
As I sit here trying to figure out where to begin explaining
why I am writing you ... I just hope somehow you can
help me. I am 34 years old, and since I was 11 I have had
this unbelievable ability to recall my past ... I can take
a date, between 1974 and today, and tell you what day it
falls on, what I was doing that day, and if anything of
great importance ... occurred on that day I can describe
that to you as well. I do not look at calendars before-
hand, and I do not read 24 years of my journals either.
sad0214McGa3p.indd 42 12/17/13 6:12 PM
February 2014, 43
ing, we received dozens of e-mails from potential subjects, and
within days, many hundreds had reached our in-boxes. We con-
tacted many of these people by telephone and tested them by ask-
ing them about sporting and political events, famous people, holi-
days, airplane crashes and other notable incidents.
We also began a more formal testing procedure at our cen-
ter, recruiting several dozen control subjects of similar ages to
that of the superior memory group—and both groups con-
tained the same proportion of males and females. During the
testing, a few of those who claimed to have exceptional memo-
ries performed more poorly than the controls. Clearly, believ-
ing that you have HSAM does not make it so.
The 40 or so subjects who did perform well then received,
along with the control group, an additional test in which they had
to identify the day of the week for each of 10 randomly selected
dates, along with a newsworthy event that occurred on or near
these dates, as well as something that had happened to them on
that date. As a group, the prospective HSAM subjects very signifi-
cantly outperformed the controls on all components of this test.
Eleven of the highest-performing subjects then came to our
lab at U.C. Irvine for further testing. They were first asked to
answer questions about five personal experiences that we were
able to verify—events such as their first day at university and ele-
mentary school, their 18th-birthday celebration, the address and
description of their first residence after leaving home, and the
date of their last final exam in college. The
11 potential HSAM subjects outperformed
the controls by a wide margin—registering
an overall score of 85 percent in respond-
ing to these queries compared with only 8
percent for controls. We concluded that
these 11 subjects, who ranged in age from
27 to 60, very clearly had HSAM.
We also tried to distinguish the HSAM
group from others by administering a bat-
tery of lab memory tests. HSAM subjects
performed better than the controls in only
two of eight tests: one associating names
with faces and another checking recall of
visual objects. For both tests, however, the
scores for the two groups overlapped con-
siderably. A few other qualities distin-
guished the HSAM group. A higher than
average number
—five of 11—were left-
handed, and they scored significantly high-
er on a test of obsessive personality traits.
One-on-one interviews also revealed some
compulsive behaviors such as hoarding of
possessions and excessive eorts to avoid
touching potentially germ-laden objects.
A further question in trying to under-
stand superior memory was whether
these dierences in memory are related to
dierences in the brains of our group.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
revealed that several brain regions of
HSAM subjects diered from those of
control subjects. A few areas of gray mat-
ter (tissue made up of the cell bodies of
neurons) and white matter (the wirelike extensions from the
neurons covered with a whitish insulating material called my e-
lin) varied from controls in size and shape. The structure of the
white matter’s fibers also hinted at greater eciency in transfer-
ring information be tween brain regions.
Findings of other labs investigating the eects of brain le
sions, as well as those using functional MRI and positron-emis-
sion tomography, have suggested that brain regions and fiber
pathways that stand out in HSAM subjects are involved in re
membering life events (autobiographical memory). In our group,
the structure of one fiber tract, the uncinate fascicle, which trans-
mits information between the temporal and frontal cortex, ap
peared to have better connections than in control subjects. This
finding is intriguing because of evidence that injury to this path-
way impairs autobiographical memory.
Our imaging results are, of course, merely suggestive. We
do not know whether these anatomical dierences in the
brains of HSAM and control subjects contribute in some way
to superlative memory ability or whether they might be a con-
sequence of extensive use of that ability. To find out, we need
to determine whether HSAM ability appears in early child-
hood. If the skill has some genetic basis, we should eventually
be able to detect the genes involved. Yet we have no evidence
so far of a higher incidence of this ability in relatives of those
in the HSAM group.
QuerY from Jill Price to researchers at the University of California, Irvine, set o
a series of events that led to identication of individuals with superior memory.
sad0214McGa3p.indd 43 12/17/13 6:12 PM
  have enabled us to make a few tentative conclu-
sions about these extraordinary people. First, HSAM subjects do
not develop superior memory because they somehow learn
things more readily than others who lack this talent. The mem-
bers of this group distinguish themselves by their ability to re -
tain what they do learn. Someone with an average memory can
remember, for a few days afterward, many details of what hap-
pened, say, last Tuesday, but the information fades in a week or
so. Not so for members of the HSAM group: their memories are
considerably longer lasting.
Second, we know that the memory systems of individuals
with HSAM are not precise video and audio recorders of every
millisecond of their existence. Additionally, HSAM is not like the
memory of “S,” the subject in Alexander Luria’s The Mind of a
Mnemonist: A Little Book about a Vast Memory, a much cited
1968 account about one of Luria’s patients who could readily
learn and retain vast amounts of relatively meaningless materi-
al—rows and columns of numbers, for instance. Nor is HSAM
like that of memory experts who train themselves by extensive
rehearsal and the use of mnemonic tricks to learn material such
as pi to many thousands of digits.
The HSAM group’s memories are less detailed than those of
Luria’s subject but are highly organized in that they are associ-
ated with a particular day and date. We also know that this skill
seems to occur naturally and without studied exertion. Many of
the questions we have used in testing HSAM individuals have
to do with subject matter, such as the weather on a particular
day, recollections that they were highly unlikely to have spent
time and e ort rehearsing. When asked how they gained their
knowledge, HSAM subjects typically responded, “I just know
that.” And although they enjoy mentally tying a date to an
event, they generally have little, if any, interest in knowing what
happened on calendar dates that arrived before they were born.
HSAM subjects typically appreciate their special skill. In this
way, they are not at all like the eponymous character from Jorge
Luis Borges’s 1962 short story “Funes the Memorious.” After
being thrown from a horse, Funes acquired the ability to retain
detailed memories of all his subsequent experiences; he could
call up the image of every leaf on every tree he had seen. He was
tortured by his recollections, which made him conclude that his
life was no more than a garbage heap. Although Price told us
that her memories were a burden, most HSAM subjects relish
having such vivid access to their past. For the most part, they
lead active professional and social lives. Several are in the enter-
tainment industry: actress Marilu Henner and television pro-
ducer and stand-up comedian Robert Petrella have HSAM. So do
Louise Owen, a violinist, and Brad Williams, a radio news
announcer and actor.
The extraordinary abilities of people with HSAM do not give
them superhuman powers to outpace their colleagues in their
chosen professions. Petrella has had occasion to use his skill when
he wrote, for his own amusement, “The Book of Bob,” in which he
noted, for each day of the year, the best experience on that date
during his adult life. But this project was merely a pastime—it had
nothing to do with producing a TV show.
The work on HSAM joins a rich history of re search on peo-
ple with unusual psychological defi cits and strengths. In 1881
French psychologist Théodule Ribot reported that brain dam-
age impaired new memories but allowed older ones to persist—
studies echoed in recent decades by the investigations of Bren-
da Milner of McGill University. Milner examined the fa mous
patient Henry Molaison, for years known simply as “H.M.,”
helping to provide insight into what happens when a person is
unable to form new autobiographical memories. After the sur-
gical removal of a portion of the brain—the anterior medial
Super Memories in the Lab
The fi rst challenge researchers faced when they encountered people
claiming to have astute recall of events from decades earlier was to
verify these assertions. The team at the University of California, Irvine,
developed a multipart evaluation process (graphs at right) that led to sev-
eral dozen individuals being classifi ed as exhibiting highly superior autobi-
ographical memory, or HSAM. A later step focused on whether the brains
of the HSAM group diff ered from those with
normal memories. Two memory-relat-
ed regions stood out in brain scans:
the uncinate fascicle, a nerve
ber tract that links the tem-
poral and frontal cortices, and
the parahippocampal gyrus
are better connected to oth-
er brain areas.
Stage 1: Public Events Quiz
More than a third of the self-identified HSAM group recalled at least
50 percent of newsworthy items, a level unmatched by control subjects.
Watch interviews of people with superior recall at Scientifi
Uncinate fascicle 0
Score (percent correct)
Individuals who thought
they had HSAM
Individuals in control group
Public Events Quiz
Days of Week Quiz
Verifiable Events Quiz
Autobiographical Events Quiz
Mean score
of 36 HSAM
Mean score of
control group
Score (percent correct)
Combined Results of Three-Part Quiz
Individuals who scored at least 50%
moved on to stage 2
Linking Names to Faces
Visual Memory Recall
Auditory Short-Term Memory Test
Raw Score
Mean score of 11
HSAM candidates
Mean score of
control group
Parahippocampal gyrus
sad0214McGa4p.indd 44 12/18/13 3:58 PM
February 2014, Scientifi 45
temporal lobes in both hemispheres to treat epilepsy—Molai-
son almost completely lost the ability to learn new autobio-
graphical information even though his memory for prior expe-
riences remained mostly intact and motor learning of move-
ment—known as procedural memory—remained unimpaired.
These fi ndings forced the then novel conclusion that di erent
brain systems are responsible for distinctive types of memory,
and, as a consequence, memory research underwent dramatic
change. The new discovery that some human subjects have very
strong and lasting memories of both ordinary personal experi-
ences and important public events has stimulated research that
may, over time, provide new insights into the way the brain stores
and retrieves recollections of past events.
  , beginning with psychologist Hermann
Eb binghaus’s studies of human memory in 1885, has shown that
repetition of material we wish to learn strengthens memory.
More recent studies by Henry L. Roediger III of Washington Uni-
versity in St. Louis and Je rey D. Karpicke of Purdue University
have found that memory retrieval—bringing to mind a memory
for a few moments—can make recall stronger.
Even with practice, however, an individual with ordinary
memory is unlikely to achieve the capabilities of our HSAM sub-
jects, who did not rehearse for any of our tests. McGaugh has
spent many years on studies that have found that we all make
stronger memories of emotionally important experiences. The
novel and intriguing fi nding is that HSAM subjects readily make
strong memories of even relatively trivial events.
Despite considerable media coverage, we have so far identi-
ed only about 50 HSAM subjects out of several hundred
potential candidates who have contacted us. That is a very tiny
proportion of the total number of viewers and readers who
learned about our research. If this ability aids in successful
adaptation to the challenges of living, why is it so rare? Perhaps
HSAM is a lingering trace of a once important and now almost
lost skill. Before the printing press, much of human culture was
preserved by stories and knowledge passed down orally from
one generation to the next. In the preliterate world, a prodi-
gious memory would have accorded the holder an elevated sta-
tus among peers. The need for this type of highly organized
mental capacity is waning and, with the introduction of com-
puters and smartphones, may have already passed.
It is possible—perhaps likely— that many of the subjects
whom we dismissed in our early testing as not having HSAM
possess some other memory ability that we have yet to identify.
Some of these people may have lucid memories of their past and
simply neglect to mentally date them, as do the HSAM subjects,
opening the prospects for new avenues of research. Instead of
contemplating mental defi cits, we and other investigators may
now have an opportunity, sparked by an impromptu, 14-year-old
e-mail message, to better understand the way the brain works by
studying Olympians of human recall.
The Mind of a Mnemonist: A Little Book about a Vast Memory. A. R. Luria.
Basic Books, 1968.
Memory and Emotion: The Making of Lasting Memories. James L. McGaugh.
Columbia University Press, 2003.
Behavioral and Neuroanatomical Investigation of Highly Superior Autobiographi-
cal Memory (HSAM). Aurora K. R. LePort et al. in Neurobiology of Learning and
Memory, Vol. 98, No. 1, pages 78–92; July 2012.
Making Memories Stick. R. Douglas Fields; February 2005.
Stage 2: Dates Test
The HSAM group excelled on a test in which they had to identify the days of the week
and verifi able public and personal events that occurred on a random set of 10 dates.
Stage 3: Cognitive Testing
A subset of the HSAM group performed well on only some cognitive
measures of memory—ones linking names to faces and recall of
images—but not on several others, such as a short-term memory test.
Score (percent correct)
Individuals who thought
they had HSAM
Individuals in control group
Public Events Quiz
Days of Week Quiz
Verifiable Events Quiz
Autobiographical Events Quiz
Mean score
of 36 HSAM
Mean score of
control group
Score (percent correct)
Combined Results of Three-Part Quiz
Some individuals who
scored at least 65%
moved on to stage 3
Linking Names to Faces
Visual Memory Recall
Auditory Short-Term Memory Test
Raw Score
Mean score of 11
HSAM candidates
Mean score of
control group
Illustration by AXS Biomedical Animation Studio, Graphics by Jen Christiansen
sad0214McGa3p.indd 45 12/17/13 6:12 PM
... Beginning early in the present century, a different type of extraordinary memory has been described. People with so-called "hyperthymesia" (Parker, Cahill, & McGaugh, 2006) have highly superior autobiographical memories (HSAM) in the context of quite average performance on most laboratory and clinical tests of new learning and memory (Ally, Hussey, & Donahue, 2013;LePort et al., 2012;LePort, Stark, McGaugh, & Stark, 2016McGaugh & LePort, 2014;Parker et al., 2006;Patihis, 2016;Patihis et al., 2013). Many of these individuals can describe, in great perceptual detail, every day in their adult lives, without obvious rehearsal, practice or reliance on mnemonic devices. ...
... However, MM differs from other HSAM subjects in that his extraordinary memory applies to historical events that he did not personally experience (including those long before his birth) and to general world knowledge. Most HSAM subjects have little interest in thinking about events from dates before they were born (McGaugh & LePort, 2014). Thus, the range of material for which MM has exceptional memory appears to be much broader than that of HSAM subjects previously described (see Table 3). ...
... It is tempting to speculate on the relationship between MM's mental health challenges and his extraordinary memory. In fact, many mnemonists and HSAMs suffer from depression or possess obsessional traits (if not full-blown obsessive-compulsive disorder; LePort et al., 2012;McGaugh & LePort, 2014). MM does have longstanding anxiety and depression, but he is receiving treatment and his symptoms are under reasonable control. ...
Objective: Mnemonists, memory champions, and persons with highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM) are apparently rare breeds, with no more than a few dozen cases of each described in the neuroscientific literature. This report describes a newly discovered HSAM case who has extraordinary memory for a wider range of material than has heretofore been described. Method: Subject MM was interviewed about his personal life and administered standard clinical tests of cognition and personality, as well as experimental tasks assessing personal and generic episodic and semantic memory. Finally, he was studied with high resolution structural MRI of the medial temporal lobes, as well as brain connectivity analysis using resting-state functional MRI. Results: MM's ability to recall general factual information, historical facts and dates, sports statistics, and popular culture, as well as personal life experiences, is exceptional, even though he performs in only the average range on tests of intellect and new learning ability. Unlike most mnemonists, he denies using any specific mnemonic strategy and, unlike many other HSAM cases, is unable to recall highly specific details of days in his adult life. Structural brain imaging in MM reveals atypical anatomy in his left temporal lobe, and functional neuroimaging suggests greater than usual connectivity of the left hippocampus with premotor, prefrontal and retrosplenial cingulate cortex. Conclusions: These observations are discussed in the context of previous studies of mnemonists and HSAM cases, some of which implicate hyperconnectivity among components of an expanded memory network in extraordinary memory retrieval. (PsycINFO Database Record
... Access to those stimuli and the consummatory responses they permit after the delay was depressed below its baseline level in that context, suggesting its strength may have been enhanced through a BRT mechanism.). Some discriminated performances that should be very easy are very difficult (e.g., Reid et al., 2017;Urcuioli, 2006) and others that should be impossible are manifest (Pilley and Reid, 2011;McGaugh and LePort, 2014). In what its authors dubbed the paradoxical incentive effect, a study showed that increasing the magnitude of reinforcement from 1 to 2 pellets on small to moderate variable ratio schedules decreased response rates of rats; increasing further to 3 further decreased response rates (Bizo et al., 2001), even with possible satiation controlled for. ...
Full-text available
Two of Timberlake's major contributions, amongst numerous other good notes, are Behavior Regulation Theory (BRT), and Behavior Systems Theory (BST). BRT was a refinement of the Premack Principle. What both got right was that reinforcers are responses, not stimuli. For BRT, they were responses that were occurring below the rate at which they otherwise would given free access to them. BST was a larger ethological framework for our science of behavior. We have always needed it, as it opens an important window on our field. With that window closed, it is easy to stumble over a half-dozen anomalies in the dark, ones that we say humph to, scratch our heads, and then move on. When illuminated by BST, however, such anomalies become keys to a deeper understanding of our subject. This paper reviews numerous anomalies that make sense within the joint framework of BST and BRT, and Dickinson's Dual-Process theory of learned behavior. No longer anomalous in that context, all that is now left to do is test the validity and productivity of this general framework for those many strange cases.
... I open with a simple example of the kind of conundrum facing the scientific/genetic vision of life. In the February 2014 Scientific American article, "Remembrance of All Things Past"[14], someremarkable autobiographical memories observed in a number of individuals (in a syndrome called hyperthymesia) were reported on. That article opened with an excerpt from an e-mail that the lead author James McGaugh had received from a woman named Jill Price. ...
... The answer is no. People with HSAM are no better than ordinary people at memorizing lists of things [3]. That is why this ability is called "Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory." ...
Levi et al. (2021) critique the concept of everyday amnesia (high confident misses) by arguing that these are simply due to criterion shifts within a signal detection framework. We agree that signal detection figures can be drawn to conceptualize the results, but we argue such efforts merely provide a re-description of the phenomenon without explaining it. For that, one would need a process theory. Signal detection theory represents an elegant framework for conceiving of issues in decision making, but not for explaining mechanisms underlying them. A signal detection figure can be created for any possible recognition memory result; any pair of hit rates and false alarm rates (and hence miss rates and correct rejection rates) is amenable to such a depiction. If we were to cast the issue we raised in terms of signal detection theory, we might ask: Why do some subjects place their most liberal criterion in such a way that they miss, with high confidence, items that they recently studied? Signal detection theory provides no answer.
Introduction to Psychological Science provides students with an accessible, comprehensive, and engaging overview of the field of scientific psychology. It expertly incorporates a variety of perspectives ranging from neuroscience to cultural perspectives at an introductory level. Ray brings together cutting-edge research from traditional psychological literature to modern, evolving perspectives, and creates a unified approach by focusing on three core themes: Behavior and Experience: an analysis of behavior and experiences observed across a variety of everyday life situations. Neuroscience: an examination of psychological experiences through neuroscience lens ranging from genetic/epigenetic to cortical networks as related to psychology. Evolutionary/Human Origins: an exploration of broader scientific questions by examining psychological processes from the perspective of human and cultural history. Through these themes, the book delves into topics like social processes, psychopathology, stress and health, motivation and emotion, developmental sequences, and cognitive functions such as memory, learning, problem solving, and language. Throughout it helps students to understand the nature of psychological science by addressing common myths and misconceptions in psychology, showing how psychological science can be applied to everyday life and how new Research can be created. Additionally, this student-friendly book is packed with pedagogical features, including "concept checks" to test reader knowledge, "extensions" features which show how to apply knowledge, and a comprehensive glossary. Reflecting the latest APA Guidelines concerning the essential elements of an introductory psychology course, this text is core reading for all undergraduate introductory psychology students.
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Traditional religions posit a nonmaterial, spiritual aspect of life. Science rejects that possibility and given the contemporary intellectual hegemony enjoyed by science, that has greatly deflated support for religious perspectives. This paper introduces the countervailing position, that the extraordinary claims associated with the scientific vision have always been a stretch—beginning with a reliance on DNA for exceptional behaviors. That stretch is now unfolding in a broad failure as huge efforts to identify the DNA (or genetic) origins for disease and behavioral tendencies (in the realms of personal genomics and behavioral genetics, respectively) have been an “absolutely beyond belief” failure. This paper will discuss this unfolding heritability crisis, and then indirectly further it with consideration of challenges posed by some unusual behaviors including taboo and accepted paradoxes. A basic point herein is that objectively challenging science’s bedrock position of materialism—which has been an immense obstacle in the path of finding meaningful support for religious perspectives—is not difficult. A final point touched on here is that science’s physics-only based model of evolution never made sense as a possible vehicle for dualistic or transcendent phenomena, and thus the unfolding failure of genetics further deserves the attention of those investigating religious perspectives.
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