This blog post from Scientific American, 4 Things Most People Get Wrong About Memory, gives a good summary of the misconceptions most people and students harbour about memory.
What perplexes the author is that these misconceptions about human memory persist even though memory has been shown again and again to be far from perfect. We overlook big things, forget details, conflate events. The article mentions the famous experiment in which many people asked to watch a video of people playing basketball failed to notice a person wearing a gorilla suit walk right through the middle of the scene.
Find below four common incorrect assumptions about memory: • Memory works like a video camera, recording the world around us onto a mental tape that we can later replay.
- An unexpected occurrence is likely to be noticed—even when people’s attention is elsewhere
- Hypnosis can improve memory—especially when assisting a witness in recalling details associated with a crime
- Amnesia sufferers usually cannot remember their identity or name
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