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Congratulations on taking the quiz and unlocking the C.O.D.E. to your unique brain type. You’ve taken the first step towards understanding how to leverage your strengths and develop strategies to overcome your biggest challenges. As an Agile Cheetah, you have incredible strengths you can use to overcome any challenge in your learning and life.

If you haven’t taken the test yet, be sure to visit mybrainanimal.com to find out which brain animal represents you.

The Agile Cheetah

The Agile Cheetah is the instinctive doer. You have powerful instincts and aren’t afraid to use them, relying on your quick thinking and adaptability to get you through any situation. While you value thoughtful, strategic planning, you are very comfortable with sudden changes in all areas of life and business. You like making fast decisions and excel in high-pressure situations. Your dynamic nature makes it easy to adapt to new challenges and you like a change of pace in terms of new environments, projects, and tasks. Because you thrive in conditions that are constantly changing, things like rigid rules, regulations, and institutions are not your favorite. Instead, you like fast-paced atmospheres that value flexibility and gut-instinct.

Utilize Your Cheetah Strengths

As someone who follows your gut and is always ready for a change, your best productivity strategy is to set short-term goals. When you break tasks down into smaller, achievable tasks, you’re able to maintain momentum and stay motivated. This helps you feel like you’re making progress and can help you stay on track when it comes to goals with long timelines.

You also learn best through hands-on experience. Whatever you can do to make your goals, lessons, and work sessions interactive will do wonders for your focus and concentration. Look for opportunities to visit facilities, assist in a lab, participate in a workshop, or volunteer for an event to solidify new lessons and skills.

Even though you thrive in high-energy situations, you still need time to recharge and re-energize. Your tendency might be to take working lunches and ignore breaks, but these can actually lead to burnout and overload. Break your day down into manageable pieces where you take the time to relax and recover. It might feel like you’re going against your energetic norm, but you’ll find that you have even more energy and higher productivity when you allow yourself to rest.

Some time-management techniques you’ll want to master will involve time blocking. This is when you chunk down your day into time blocks dedicated to specific tasks. For example, you set aside twenty minutes to do email, ten minutes to write your daily to-do list, thirty minutes for your morning reading. Using the Pomodoro Technique can help you stay focused on the tasks without worrying about the time and remind you to take breaks when the timer goes off. These small chunks of time help you shift tasks quickly and easily while allowing you to maintain focus and efficiency throughout your day.

Cheetahs Working with Others

Every animal type has their own strengths to contribute when working with others. The goal of a successful team is to use your strengths to complement others and contribute to a more effective and balanced group dynamic. Here are some specific strategies you can employ when working with other animal brain types.

Owls are the logical thinkers. They have a methodical approach which might seem frustrating to a Cheetah. But your adaptability and quick decision-making skills can help an Owl move through difficult and complex tasks with ease. You want to be open to their structured plans and offer solutions when they come up against road blocks. Because you’re quick on your feet, you can help them brainstorm for faster planning and easier execution.

As a creative visionary, Dolphins love dreaming up new ideas. You might have a tried-and-true approach that gets you to your goal quickly, but the Dolphin might have an out-of-the-box approach that gets you twice the results in the same amount of time. You and the Dolphin can work very well together, as your fast-acting tendencies bring their new ideas to life in record time. And your agility means you can pivot quickly when things don’t work and give them more opportunity to dream up something even better than before.

There’s nothing more important to an Elephant than connecting with their team. Rather than getting frustrated at how time-consuming team consensus can take, be open to learning how to apply everyone’s opinions and strengths for the most efficient outcome. This can be helpful when it comes to complex situations. Allowing an Elephant to facilitate communication and collaboration can help you find the fastest solution for the entire team.

Improve Your Cheetah Weaknesses

Every animal type has challenges you can work on to improve your performance. By focusing on personal growth, you can become self-aware enough to overcome these obstacles and become your best self.

One of the biggest challenges you face as a Cheetah is cultivating patience. You want to move forward, favoring action over caution. And while that means you make progress on your tasks and are busy throughout your day, some of that might be work you didn’t need to do. When you don’t take the time to analyze situations thoroughly, you can make mistakes, causing you to redo certain steps before you can complete whatever you’re working on. A little of preparation can feel slow at the beginning, but translate to being faster in the end.

You can work on this by practicing your planning skills. Creating detailed plans that break your goals down into small, actionable goals will help you develop a stronger vision of your tasks and projects. You’ll see each step clearly, which means you can execute them more efficiently. And you’ll spend less time recovering from mistakes or unforeseen obstacles.

Another area to work on is your active listening skills. In your haste to get things done, you might not take the time to fully absorb or understand various perspectives when making a decision or moving forward on a project. Other people have valuable insight that you can use in your planning and execution. Even though you prefer to learn hands-on by doing, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to learn from someone else’s experience first.

By focusing on these areas of improvement, you’ll start to plan and collaborate on a whole new level. This will give you a more balanced and effective approach to work, learning, and personal growth.

Better Cheetah Problem-solving and Decision-making

Each animal brain type has unique cognitive preferences that you can use to improve your problem-solving and decision-making abilities.

As a Cheetah, you want to learn to trust your instincts. Your gut reactions and intuition are highly attuned to your thinking, and you can use them to guide your decision-making. This can be particularly helpful in situations where rapid decisions are necessary or when there is limited information available.

Because one of your strengths is hands-on learning, this means that everything you experience is a teaching moment. Be willing to test potential solutions, learn from the outcomes, and adjust your approach accordingly. You won’t always be right, and will often have to adjust, but those setbacks will help fine-tune your process for the future.

Finally, don’t be afraid to seek input from others. Getting feedback and advice from others will balance your desire to rely entirely on instinct. Sometimes you might know the path forward but not know quite how to get there. Being open to a variety of perspective and new insights will help fine-tune your ability to act quickly, trust your gut, and learn from experience.


As a Cheetah, you have incredible strengths and cognitive gifts. You can leverage these abilities to overcome challenges, improve your performance, and unlock your inner genius. Learn to listen to your instincts, practice your long-term planning, and turn the world into your personal classroom.

Remember, these brain types are not strict categories, but a framework to help you explore and embrace your unique qualities. You may even find multiple brain types resonate with you. Everyone is a one-of-a-kind combination of traits and abilities. That’s why your brain type isn’t a limitation, but a foundation from which you can build and expand.

This information can help you tailor your learning approach, seek environments that complement your strengths, and surround yourself with individuals who can support and challenge you. When you embrace your strengths, cultivate your weaknesses, and embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth, you can unleash your truly limitless potential.

Take the quiz

So, are you ready to uncover your brain type? Find out if you embody the agility of the Cheetah, the wisdom of the Owl, the creativity of the Dolphin, and the empathy of the Elephant. Take the quiz at mybrainanimal.com and unlock the power of your remarkable mind.


Have you ever wondered what makes your brain unique? Why you excel in certain areas but struggle in others? The human brain is a fascinating and complex organ, and researchers are discovering more about what makes every individual tick. That’s why I developed a brain assessment, drawing from multiple well-established theories and models in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience to help you discover and understand your unique brain type.

This quiz is a framework to help give you another set of tools to unlock your full potential for learning and personal growth. And, it breaks your results down into an easy to remember C.O.D.E. I invite you to take this test and discover your unique brain type: are you a Cheetah, Owl, Dolphin, or Elephant?

The Agile Cheetah

The Agile Cheetah is the instinctive doer. You have powerful instincts and aren’t afraid to use them, relying on your quick thinking and adaptability to get you through any situation. While you value thoughtful, strategic planning, you are very comfortable with sudden changes in all areas of life and business. You like making fast decisions and excel in high-pressure situations. Your dynamic nature makes it easy to adapt to new challenges and you like a change of pace in terms of new environments, projects, and tasks. Because you thrive in conditions that are constantly changing, things like rigid rules, regulations, and institutions are not your favorite. Instead, you like fast-paced atmospheres that value flexibility and gut-instinct.

The Wise Owl

The Wise Owl represents the logical thinker. You have strong analytical skills and a finite attention to detail, allowing you to assess data with clarity and precision. And you have yet to meet a puzzle you weren’t excited to solve. There’s nothing you love more than unraveling complex concepts and breaking problems down into manageable parts. Your curiosity is insatiable, driving you to ask questions and explore new topics. When it comes to making decisions, you need time to take a deep dive into the problem, consider multiple outcomes, weigh the pros and cons, and think several steps out before reaching any conclusions. Whether it’s taking everyone’s interests into account when planning a family vacation, or providing a comprehensive report on your company’s productivity, you handle intricate details with ease. But creating quality analysis takes time, and that means you’re not comfortable making snap decisions under pressure.

The Creative Dolphin

The Creative Dolphin is the visionary. You generate original ideas and find unique solutions to complex problems through out-of-the-box thinking and strong intuition. Imagination is your playground. You approach challenges with a fresh perspective, looking from all angles, even ones no one has considered. Impossible isn’t in your vocabulary. That doesn’t mean you’re trying to constantly reinvent the wheel. Instead, you enjoy building on what already exists, and either expanding their potential or taking a different approach. You thrive when you’re encouraged to offer new viewpoints and love brainstorming new ideas. At home, you breathe new life into Taco Tuesday and can craft a brand-new marketing campaign for a lagging product at work. You’re guaranteed to come up with an idea no one else has thought of. You shine in environments that embrace your creative spirit and can feel stifled in places that require you to conform to strict convention.

The Empathetic Elephant

The Empathetic Elephant is the collaborative connector. You have exceptional emotional intelligence. Thanks to your ability to understand others on a deeply emotional level, you’re able to forge strong connections. Teams are better with you on them. You’re supportive and cooperative, and your empathy enables you to mediate conflict, facilitate open communication, and enhance a positive atmosphere wherever you go. You understand how other people can lift each other up, encouraging them to weave their strengths together to create an unstoppable force. This makes you a master negotiator, an uplifting cheerleader, and a just peacekeeper. It doesn’t matter whether you’re helping your children get along or managing a diverse group to launch a new product line, you will find a way to bring them together, see different points of view, and flourish as a united team.


When you understand your brain type, you’re empowered to leverage your strengths and develop strategies to overcome challenges. Remember, these brain types are not strict categories, but a framework to help you explore and embrace your unique qualities. You may even find multiple brain types resonate with you. Everyone is a one-of-a-kind combination of traits and abilities. That’s why your brain type isn’t a limitation, but a foundation from which you can build and expand.

This information can help you tailor your learning approach, seek environments that complement your strengths, and surround yourself with individuals who can support and challenge you. When you embrace your strengths, cultivate your weaknesses, and embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth, you can unleash your truly limitless potential.

Take the quiz

So, are you ready to uncover your brain type? Find out if you embody the agility of the Cheetah, the wisdom of the Owl, the creativity of the Dolphin, and the empathy of the Elephant. Take the quiz at mybrainanimal.com and unlock the power of your remarkable mind.


It’s common to confuse the meaning of motivation versus inspiration, as they both have a similar meaning. When you’re inspired, you have the urge or ability to engage in a specific task or feel a certain way. Similarly, being motivated is the desire to behave in specific ways, and that prompts you into action.

Both motivation and inspiration lead to action. Inspiration can be the reason we compose a song or try something new with our exercise routine. Motivation can help us accomplish those things, too. But while the words are similar in meaning, they actually mean significantly different things.

What is Motivation?

Motivation is a psychological concept. It’s a stimulant or driving force that compels you to take action. Meaning, when you feel mentally stimulated, you behave or act in a particular way. You focus on a goal, like exercising daily, and that goal triggers you into action.

When you feel hungry, you’re then motivated to find something to eat. When you feel guilty about not seeing a friend, you’re motivated to contact them. Motivation can be psychological, biological, or social. It causes an action, often based on what you think you should be doing.

Motivation is a great tool because once you have a defined goal, you can focus your efforts on achieving that goal. You can use shared goals to help friends, team members, and employees take action towards success.

What is Inspiration? 

Inspiration is a little trickier. It’s the feeling you get when you encounter a specific experience. A wide variety of stimuli can trigger it and it’s different for everybody. What inspires you may not inspire your neighbor and vice versa.

When you’re inspired, it’s easy to find a reason to act. It comes naturally. But it’s less likely to create long-term action. For example, you can leave a TED Talk inspired to start your own business. But once the emotional connection goes away and left with a long list of difficult tasks, it’s easy to put the notebook away and start something else.

Inspiration can be difficult to sustain progress over months or years because it’s often connected to ambiguous ideas. These are your dreams, your hopes, your greatest ambitions. And they come with deep emotions. The vague nature of inspiration makes it a concept that’s difficult to pin down into action. Rather than focusing on the details of the goal, inspiration encourages you to act out of a deep desire to maintain the emotional connection you initially felt.

The Important Difference 

One way to look at the difference between motivation and inspiration is what triggers the action. Motivation creates action. The more you plan, and the more you achieve, the more motivated you feel to continue driving that action forward. But inspiration is more of a pull. You feel compelled to act in that moment, but once the moment is over, the urgency to continue the action goes down. Motivation is a drive, inspiration is a feeling.

It’s easier to sustain motivation in others as well. You can motivate people by breaking their goals into bite-sized chunks and encouraging them to keep pushing forward. But if you can’t dig into that internal, emotional well, it’s difficult to keep someone inspired, which then is hard to sustain their focus toward their goals. You can tie motivation to any goal, where inspiration is connection with individual personality, values, and beliefs.

How to Apply Them

When you seek to motivate someone, you’re persuading them into an action or behavior through defined goals. But when you inspire someone, you’re influencing them. One has clear metrics for success, where the other is encouraging a general outcome without parameters. That makes it difficult to sustain and even more difficult to tap into.

Because motivation involves breaking a goal down into steps, it takes away the emotional pull that inspiration relies on. This can make it easier to bounce back from setbacks, overcome difficult obstacles, and build confidence.

Motivation also taps into the reward system in the brain, which triggers the release of the same chemicals in the brain that inspiration does. The key difference is that the reward system drives behavior through these neurochemical connections. Inspiration creates emotion when thinking about the overall idea, but motivation creates emotion at every small step along the way. That is far more likely to keep you engaged and focused while working towards your goal.

Look at the difference this way. A healthy diet might inspire you emotionally, but to sustain that lifestyle you have to change your daily behavior. If you rely on inspiration, you have to tap into those deep, emotional reserves every time you think about what you want to eat. But if you break eating down into all the tiny steps from grocery shopping to cooking, you make changing your diet manageable and easier to achieve.


The key to understanding the difference between motivation and inspiration is identifying the driving action. Inspiration can start you on your goals, but it can’t sustain behavior over a long period. You can only tap into inspiration when you link the behavior directly with your internal values, emotions, personality, and interests.

Motivation, on the other hand, creates momentum, which drives your action forward step-by-step. It’s self-sustaining and replicable—no matter what goal you apply it to. You can create motivation in others and sustain motivation towards long-term goals.

While inspiration has been the source of amazing creative, industrial, and societal achievements throughout history, motivation doesn’t rely on an emotional spark to get started. Once you understand how to unlock motivation, you unlock the potential to achieve any dream and any goal, allowing you to live your limitless life.

If you want to learn more about how to tap into motivation and reach any goal, watch this video:


Reading is one of the best brain exercises you can do and why you should make reading a habit for your kids. It builds vocabulary, develops empathy, fosters creativity, and encourages imagination. In whole, it’s a brain-nourishing experience. And that’s why it’s such an essential skill for children.

Young brains are hungry for knowledge, and books are one of the best ways to feed that hunger. Studies show that early readers have more confidence, develop stronger critical thinking skills, and perform better academically. All of this leads to a higher probability that they’ll be successful later in life. Here are five reasons you should help your child develop a reading habit.

Enhances Brain Performance

Reading boosts brain health and develops new neural connections. The younger you start this process, the more your brain develops. Specifically, reading helps develop concentration and attention. In kids, this means improved performance in school, helping them learn the skills to make them successful later in life.

Reading also exercises your entire brain. It develops imagination by encouraging your children to build the meaning of the written text in their mind. Stories helps children learn how to think critically and analyze the plot. It sparks curiosity, prompts problem-solving, and improves logical reasoning. And by starting a reading habit young, you’re helping lay a firm foundation for success and growth.

Enhances Vocabulary

Books expose your children to an abundance of words. They learn how to turn sounds into words, can intuit definitions through the context of the story, and recognize grammatical concepts. These language skills them help develop communication skills that allow them to express themselves easily and accurately, which creates deeper, more meaningful relationships.

Building your child’s vocabulary at a young age helps them learn how to convey complex ideas and thoughts. This fosters a love of knowledge and learning, but also helps them develop empathy and a genuine curiosity about the world around them. They’re more likely to ask questions, seek answers, and have the confidence to solve hard problems.

Adds Knowledge

Books are a vital source of information. It doesn’t matter what topic you’re looking for, there’s a book on it. Astronomy, biology, geography, music, psychology, and more are available in abundance. And with many libraries offering online resources, the information has never been easier to access.

The more your children read, the more knowledge they can gain. They can learn about recent discoveries, new inventions, current affairs, the latest in medicine, and many other important advances in our constantly changing society. We live in the age of information, making knowledge a valuable resource and currency. Helping your children understand how to not only find this information, but analyze and interpret it, is pivotal for their future success.

Improves Memory

Reading strengthens memory. Your child has to remember who characters are, what happened with various plot elements, and remember key story details. This helps keep them engaged in the material and strengthens concentration and attention-span.

According to research, habits like reading and writing stimulate the brain, both help with memory. One study showed that people with good reading habits experienced memory loss at a much slower rate than those who didn’t. Developing a regular reading habit in childhood—especially when the habit continues into adulthood—results in better brain health as you age.

Boosts Writing Skills

Kids who read learn how to translate those skills into their own writing. They learn how to express their thoughts and feelings on the page, and because they’re used to seeing grammatically correct sentences and structure, it’s easier for them to create that as they write.

The younger your children develop these skills, the more these abilities become engrained in them. It makes good writing almost second nature as they grow older. Their understanding and comprehension of language is strong, but reading also helps cement grammar, punctuation, and other more nuanced aspects of written communication that will take them far in their continuing education.

Emotional, Social, and Creativity Development

It may not seem like creativity is an important social skill, but it helps build emotional and social capabilities. They connect with characters while imagining the potential avenues for how the story will unfold and the characters will successfully accomplish their goals. This helps them recognize when others struggle and how they might offer a helping hand.

Regular reading improves these socialization abilities, and gives your children confidence when they identify words, phrases, and sentences and can use them while speaking or writing. They learn to see the world through the lens of possibility, which opens their curiosity, openness, and agreeability. You can help by choosing age-appropriate books for your kids and take part in reading activities with them.


Reading at an early age is very beneficial in child development. Children learn to communicate better, express themselves, and develop social skills. Reading creates awareness and encourages social interaction in children, and it develops confidence that leads them to be successful in life. It enhances emotional sensitivity, creativity, and deep thinking. Another major benefit of reading is that it sharpens memory and encourages your children to use their imagination to visualize stories in words.

If you want to learn more about how you can maximize your kid’s reading potential, watch this video:


You’ve likely heard that the right side of the brain is more creative than the left. It’s a widespread myth that has perpetuated for years. It’s talked about on television programs and in mainstream books. You can even take dozens of quizzes to tell you which one is your dominant side.

People who score on the right-brain spectrum are the more creative types, with strengths in thoughtfulness, intuitiveness, and subjectivity. Conversely, left-brainers are the thinkers, with strong skills in analytics, objectivity, and logic. While this is a widely held pop-culture belief, is there any proof that some people are right-brain creatives and others are left-brain logicians?

History of the myth

Right-brain versus left-brain thinking is based on the psychological concept of the lateralization of brain function. The brain has two hemispheres with each performing several roles. And there is some divided functionality. For example, the right hemisphere controls the muscles on the left side of the body and vice versa.

After a treatment for epilepsy developed split-brain surgeries, scientists began studying each hemisphere individually. Cognitive neurologist and Nobel Prize winner Roger W. Sperry was one of those researchers, and his studies are largely responsible for the myth as we know it today. As part of a study treating refractory epilepsy, patients had their corpus callosum surgically severed. Composed of tightly wound nerve bundles, the corpus callosum is how each hemisphere of the brain connects and communicates with the other. When Sperry cut this communication pathway, he noted patients experienced other symptoms, such as being unable to process specific things when viewed from either the right eye or the left.

Sperry noted patients could not “see” words when shown through their left eye. He concluded that the left side of the brain was responsible for language, specifically speaking. However, while patients couldn’t articulate seeing words, they could choose the object without understanding why they picked it up. Through more experiments, he determined the functions affected by each side of the brain, creating the characteristics we associate with being right or left-brained.

What does the research say?

However, further research proves that the brain is not as dichotomous as Sperry’s theory shows. Take math as an example. While we credit math with being a left-brain logical-thinking skill, math requires using several different types of thinking. It uses multiple areas of the brain across both hemispheres.

Language is just as complex. For the brain to process language, it requires multiple parts of the brain on both hemispheres to work cohesively. You may not be able to speak a word, but your brain still interprets it and recognizes it.

Research found that this is due to what’s known as the ‘interpreter phenomenon’. Participants had to complete a puzzle. But the piece of the puzzle they needed was in their left hemisphere, while the picture of the complete puzzle was in their right. The right hemisphere could pick the correct piece, but when asked why they chose that piece, the left hemisphere—responsible for language—created a logical story. This research has been repeated in various forms, with similar results. Researchers concluded that the left hemisphere logically pieces together what the right brain is trying to communicate.

And modern research continues to prove that the right and left brain distinction is truly a myth. A study out of the University of Utah found that there is no indication of anyone using their right or left side dominantly. Even in tasks associated with one hemisphere over the other, multiple areas of the brain also lit up, proving that our brain functions as a whole—unless forced to operate separately. From a neurological perspective, it’s impossible to distinguish between the right or left hemisphere.

Applying whole-brain learning

Despite mounting evidence that people do not have a dominant brain hemisphere, the myth continues to prevail in today’s world. Dozens of websites associate the right-brain with emotion and spiritual growth, interpreting the intuition discovered in the above studies as overall intuitive ability. This led to self-help coaches and wellness gurus encouraging people to use and develop their right hemisphere more. On the other hand, the focus on STEM and other logic-oriented fields often tout the benefits of a strong left-brain. Multiple apps and programs are designed to focus on your left hemisphere.

But there are benefits to some of these approaches. One widely held belief was that training yourself to use your non-dominant hand would help “balance” your brain by activating your non-dominant hemisphere. And while that was debunked in modern research, using your non-dominant hand is beneficial for your brain. For example, when you brush your teeth with the opposite hand, you force your brain into active thinking. Brushing your teeth doesn’t require any brainpower. In fact, it’s a deeply embedded habit that you probably don’t spend any time thinking about. When you use your opposite hand, your brain can’t rely on the same patterns to trigger the habit sequence. This means you’re aware of what you’re doing and have to focus on the task. This helps improve your concentration, focus, and attention, and stimulates your brain in the same way learning something new does.

Another study found that training your non-dominant hand increased functional connectivity in the bilateral sensorimotor hand areas. It also improved the left-lateralized parieto-prefrontal praxis network, which is how your brain learns to perform specific skills and movements. Further, patients kept these improved skills long-term. Researchers believe they can use these findings to improve physical therapy exercises for patients suffering from stroke and brain injury symptoms.


Simply put, the pop psychology belief of two distinctly functioning hemispheres doesn’t capture the working relationship between the two sides. Some brain functions can occur on either side of the brain, but it’s a limited and limiting analysis. Your brain processes the world by utilizing several areas at once and rarely is anything in your brain associated with a single function.

How you think and process information is a complex process that isn’t easily captured with a bright infographic or an internet quiz. Instead, you are both right and left-brained and can harness either your creative strengths or your logical reasoning skills at any time. And the best brain exercises are ones that challenge your current skill-set and help you learn new ones.

If you want to learn more about how the brain works individually and as a whole, check out this video:


When it comes to fascinating ideas to explore, Hollywood loves to use memory as a driver of blockbuster plots. It appears in everything from contemporary pieces on how diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia affect individuals and families, to implanting fantastical memories in far-off futures. But how realistic are these portrayals of memory in movies? In an on-going series, we’re going to explore popular movies with memory as a core component of their plot, and find out how accurate they really are. Here are the first eight movies on memory.

Total Recall (1990)

Rekall gives you the chance to remember a life you never lived. But what happens when the false memories unlock real memories, and your life is never the same?

Dennis Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a construction worker who keeps having dreams about Mars featuring a mysterious woman. He’s never been to Mars, and likely never will. So he decides to visit Rekall, a company that implants false memories. There, he chooses a fantastical adventure where Mars has a blue sky and he’s a secret agent. But halfway through the procedure things go wrong. And suddenly Quaid is on the run, trying to figure out which memories are real and which are fake.

Total Recall tackles memories on two fronts. There’s the fake memories Rekall offers to implant in your brain, and the repressed memories sinister forces are trying to keep Quaid from remembering. While memory implantation was the stuff of science fiction when this movie first came out, starting in the early 1990’s research started showing that it was possible to successfully implant memories through various techniques. In fact, just having family members alter the narrative of family events had a 37% success rate in individuals remembering a fictional event. Science has only progressed since then. In 2019, scientists were able to surgically implant false memories in mice. They were also able to alter actual memories. And research indicates we can suppress memory, too.

50 First Dates (2004)

When a man meets the girl of his dreams he never imagines that he’ll have to win her over every single day.

Living in Oahu is perfect for serial dater Henry Roth (Adam Sandler). With plenty of tourists, he never has to see the same woman twice. Until he sees Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore) building a house out of her waffles. When he can’t get her out of his head, he goes back to try to ask her on a date. But she doesn’t remember who he is. And because a brain injury means she loses her memories every night, she never will.

While the name “Goldfield’s Syndrome” that Lucy suffers from is fictional, the actual amnesia is real. It’s a form of anterograde amnesia and the film is surprisingly accurate in how it portrays the symptoms. There are patients who “reboot” after going to sleep, losing all the memories they created during the day. And the character Ten-Second Tom, who could only remember new events for ten-seconds was also based in truth. Clive Wearing is one of the most famous amnesia patients who could only retain new memories for seven seconds.

Even the Hollywood ending where Lucy somehow remembered Henry is based in truth. Clive denied keeping a journal but knew where it was. He also recognized his wife even as she aged ten, twenty, and thirty years, and never was surprised that she—or even he—was aging. It seems that while patients with this type of amnesia can’t access new memories, they are coded somewhere in the brain and patients indicate this in surprising and unexpected ways.

Memento (2000)

A man is on a mission to find the men who killed his wife. The only problem is he has anterograde amnesia and can’t form new memories.

Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) lives his life through tattoos and post-it notes. They’re the only clues he has to remember his mission: finding the men who hurt his wife and caused his amnesia. He relates the story of an insurance claim he turned down, where he believed a man was faking amnesia. As Leonard follows the clues inked on his body, the two stories intertwine in a shocking and unexpected twist.

The movie is told both chronologically and in reverse order, indicated by either color film or black-and-white, but fold together at the end to form one cohesive narrative. The black-and-white portions give the audience the truth of Leonard’s life, while the color scenes throw the viewer into Leonard’s current experience. The result is a shockingly accurate portrayal of what it would be like to live life without the ability to retain new memories. Though the film has a dark twist, with Leonard using his amnesia to willfully alter what he believes is the truth, it does show how disorienting life becomes when you can’t retrieve new memories. In fact, doctors and memory experts have lauded the film for how accurate this portrayal is.

Still Alice

A linguistic’s professor is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease just after her fiftieth birthday.

Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) has a successful life. She’s a linguistic professor at Columbia University, her husband (Alec Baldwin) is a physician, and she has three adult children. But her life takes an unexpected turn when she forgets a word during a lecture and gets lost jogging on the familiar campus. The incidents spark a visit to her doctor, where she is diagnosed with early onset familial Alzheimer’s disease. As the disease progresses, life changes substantially for both Alice and her family.

Early onset Alzheimer’s disease is when symptoms occur in patients younger than sixty-five years old. It is one of the more rare forms of the disease, affecting only 5 – 10% of Alzheimer’s patients and 60% have a family history. Still Alice gives a hauntingly realistic portrayal of the disease, though experts indicate that the progression of symptoms occurs much faster than normal. That doesn’t make the film inaccurate, though. Some patients can see a rapid cognitive decline in a similar timeline as Alice. If anything, the film doesn’t indicate that the form Alice suffers from is rare, making it slightly misleading. But overall, it does a fantastic job showing how difficult Alzheimer’s disease is from both patient and family perspectives.

The Girl on the Train (2016)

A woman sees a murder during a blackout. But just because she can’t remember, that doesn’t mean she’s safe.

Alcohol ruined Rachel Watson’s (Emily Blunt) life. She lost her job and her marriage. Now, she rides the train into New York City every day, where she goes by her ex-husband’s new home with his new wife and their new baby. And she takes her obsession further by harassing the couple when she’s drunk. When she sees their married neighbor kissing a stranger, she decides to intervene. But the next day she wakes up covered in blood and hungover, with no memory of what happened. Rachel struggles to piece together a timeline of events to clear both her name and her conscious.

There are several different types of blackouts that alcohol can induce. Rachel suffers from what’s known as “fragmentary blackouts” where her memories are spotty rather than completely gone. Because she remembers fragments of events, she then strings together a narrative of what she believes happened. The memories are there, which is how she can piece together the truth in the end. This is the most common type of blackout people who drink alcohol suffer from, and the adverse affects to Rachel’s life are also accurately portrayed.

The Father (2020)

A father and daughter navigate life with dementia in a heartbreaking and exceedingly humane depiction.

After Anthony Evans (Anthony Hopkins) fires his caregiver, his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) visits him. She wants to move to Paris, but can’t leave him in his flat if he keeps firing his caregivers. Though he struggles to remember events and frequently loses objects, Anthony refuses to move. But Anthony continues to wake up in different places, sometimes with people he knows, other times with strangers. As Anthony struggles to piece together his life, he desperately holds onto logic and rational thinking, even when those two things seem to evade him the most.

Experts praised The Father for its stunningly accurate embodiment of dementia, with an entire paper published on the NIH relating the accuracy of the movie. Where some films ease the harshness of the disease, the film drops the viewer into a nonlinear narration, showing exactly how disorienting dementia truly is. Through clever camera work and an Oscar-winning performance, we see exactly how each stage of dementia looks and feels. Memory is slippery, time gets muddled, and facts become elusive. It also highlights the difficulty of the patient-caregiver relationship as the symptoms of the disease progress. Overall, the Father hits all the medical notes, covers medication options, how dementia feels from a patient perspective, and it’s all wrapped in a mystery for the viewer to unravel.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

A man discovers that his ex-girlfriend erased her memory of their relationship. But when he tries to do the same, he discovers he doesn’t want to forget and fights to keep his memories with her.

Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and his girlfriend Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) don’t have the perfect relationship. But he never expected her to erase him entirely. He decides two can play that game, and visits the same clinic to undergo the procedure. As Joel relives their happier moments, he realizes he doesn’t want to forget Clementine. The more he fights to keep his memories intact, the harder the company works to delete them entirely, forcing Joel to face the truth of why they drifted apart and maybe give him a map to find her again.

While memories can be planted, deleting an entire relationship isn’t possible yet. But the film does create a fictionalized possibility through the very real process of reconsolidation. Rather than memory being a fixed “thing” in your brain, neuroscientists believe the brain recodes a memory every time it’s retrieved. In theory, if you block the protein synthesis that occurs when synapses connect neurons—what happens in memory reconsolidation, you could technically target a memory and erase it. Though they don’t go into detail, the process the company uses in the movie vaguely appears to be doing exactly this.

The movie also does a fairly accurate representation of how memory is formed in the brain, particularly through Joel’s journey through his mind as he tries to escape the procedure. While there are a lot of technical aspects the movie could hone in on, instead it focuses on the important role emotion plays in forming, storing, and retrieving memory. Overall, while the techniques might be plausible, they still aren’t possible—yet.


When a heist goes wrong, a valuable painting goes missing. The only problem is the person who took it can’t remember where it is.

Simon Newton (James McAvoy) was more than the auctioneer. He was the inside man. But when he attacks the leader in the middle of the theft, he gets hit on the head. When he wakes up, he has no memory of what happened in the moments before and after the attack. Through the help of a hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson), he works to uncover his lost memories. But the truth is far more complicated than he ever imagined.

This tightly woven thriller has plenty of twists and turns, all tied to how head injuries can lead to memory loss. In cases of traumatic brain injuries, less than 3% of people had no memory loss. On the other side, 45% experienced memory loss for a month or longer. Clinicians were wary of hypnosis as an effective tool for memory recovery, however, more studies are emerging that show certain hypnotic techniques can be effective in helping patients with traumatic brain injuries recover lost memories while also aiding in alleviating anxiety and post-traumatic symptoms.


As science catches up, many plots that were once the stuff of science fiction is now shifting towards reality. Stay tuned for more amazing movies on memory, and our analysis of how accurate they are.

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