The Stars and the Stripes

The following images are interpretations of descriptions of the American flag, provided by participants who could only recall the flag from imagination. Though we are often surrounded by the star-spangled banner, to recall it from memory alone is a surprisingly difficult task.

When you remember something—an event, idea, or image—your brain fundamentally alters its structure in some way, even in a way that is imperceptible. The next you "remember" it, it is probably more accurate to say that you are remembering the last memory you thought of. That is to say, you form an image of the image in your head. This

There is little these descriptions have in common. There is little we are willing to agree on. But at the very least, we all agree that there are stars, and there are stripes.